A state High Court in Akwa Ibom has given an interim injunction, restraining the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, and the Inspector General of Police from investigating the finances of the Akwa Ibom State government.
PREMIUM TIMES confirmed that the injunction was given on July 13.
The suit was filed on behalf of the state government by the state Attorney General, Uwemedimo Nwoko.
Justice NFN Ntong, the presiding judge of the State High Court, Ikot Ekpene, in granting the injunction, ruled that EFCC, ICPC, and the police should not arrest, detain, or investigate “any person or persons whether past or present official in the Akwa Ibom state government without any report of indictment by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, pending the hearing and the determination of the Motion on Notice filed in this suit in order to forestall a breakdown of law and order”.
The judge barred the state accountant general, auditor general, and the state House of Assembly, including five banks – Zenith Bank, Keystone Bank, FCMB, Skye Bank, and UBA – from disclosing information on the state finances to investigators from EFCC and other federal agencies.
The court fixed August 5 for hearing of the Motion on Notice.
EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, told PREMIUM TIMES at about on Friday that he was not aware of the restraining order.
The Attorney General of Akwa Ibom state, Mr. Nwoko, in an interview on Friday with PREMIUM TIMES, said the state government went to court because EFCC wrote letters to banks requesting documents on state government transactions.
Mr. Nwoko said Akwa Ibom is a federating unit in the Nigerian federation, and that EFCC being an agency of the federal government isn’t empowered by the Nigerian Constitution to investigate the finances of the state.
“It’s not about whether there’s anything wrong with the accounts of the Akwa Ibom state government! Why should the EFCC look into it? Is the state looking into the federal government account?”
Mr. Nwoko said other state governments that allowed EFCC and other federal agencies to investigate them may not have had the wisdom and courage to challenge the federal government.
“As the attorney general of Akwa Ibom state, I am setting a precedent,” he said.