Democracy, youth groups back call to probe Akume over ‘N4.6bn fraud’

Benue Coalition for Democracy and Benue Youth Forum have backed the state government in its call to probe George Akume, minister of special duties and intergovernmental affairs. 

The Benue government had earlier asked anti-corruption agencies to investigate and prosecute Akume, a former governor, over allegations of N4.56 billion fraud.

In separate statements issued on Saturday, the groups urged the anti-graft agencies to act on petitions submitted by the state government.

“This decision is long overdue, and the Benue State Government deserves commendation for taking the bold step to recover the billions stolen from the coffers of the state under Governor George Akume,” reads a statement signed by Ternenge Bendega, president of Benue Coalition for Democracy.

“We are all aware of the damage corruption has done to the economy of the country in many states of the federation. When criminal acts such as the one the Akume administration is being accused of are allowed to go unpunished, society suffers dire consequences.

“We are solidly behind the Benue State Government to do everything lawful to recover the stolen funds.

“We advise the State Government to take the matter further to the courts and not limit it to EFCC investigation. This is a very serious corporate malfeasance against Benue State which must be redressed.

“We also want to warn that we will not accept anything short of justice on this matter. We won’t also accept plea bargain or political solution of any kind. Akume has insulted Benue people for too long. Let him have his day in court to prove his innocence.

“Lastly, we call on anti-graft agencies to act swiftly on the petition before them regarding the reported theft of Benue’s billions by George Akume. EFCC should remember that Nigerians are watching. They must uphold professionalism and let the truth come out on this issue.”

Terrence Kuanum, president of the Benue Youth Forum, in another statement, said Akume should be willing to be accountable for his actions.

“We urge the EFCC to immediately swing into action and get to the root of the matter so that justice will be done to the people of Benue bearing in mind that no one is above the law,” he said.

“The Benue Youth Forum assures the people of the State that it will stop at nothing to ensure we get justice in this case and the looted funds are brought back into our treasury to enhance the development of our dear state.

“Consequently, we hereby give EFCC a 14-day ultimatum from Monday 29th November 2012, to invite Senator George Akume for questioning and prosecution; otherwise, we youths of Benue will occupy the commission’s premises to seek justice.

“We support Governor Samuel Ortom and his administration and will support any just cause initiated to enhance the development of our state.”

He added that they would not allow saboteurs to get away with their acts of corruption and impunity.


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