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EGBETOKUN ORDERS FREEZING OF OGUN ASSEMBLY'S ACCOUNTS

By NBF News

The factional leader of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Mr. Tunji Egbetokun last Monday ordered commercial banks in the country to stop transacting businesses with the  legislative House. Egbetokun in three separate letters to the branch managers of the First City Monument Bank, Skye Bank and Unity Bank in Abeokuta directed the banks to immediately suspend the accounts.

The letter dated September 27, 2010, copies of which were made available to journalists in Abeokuta on Tuesday read: 'I wish to instruct that all transactions on the account of the Ogun State House of Assembly that is domiciled with you be suspended henceforth.

'This instruction becomes pertinent and indeed imperative in view of the ongoing crisis in the state parliament which some element may want to exploit to engage in illegal activities on the account.'

The letters signed by Egbetokun, further read: 'Your bank shall be duly notified when this embargo is lifted and this definitely shall be at the end of the final resolutions of the crisis.'

Asking the banks to treat the letters as urgent, Egbetokun said: 'You are further advised in your own interest to abide by this instruction to prevent unpalatable consequences which may result by any uncooperative attitude which will be viewed as compromised and which will be decisively dealt with.'

Copies of the letters were sent to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the chairman, Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and head offices of the banks in Lagos.

Egbetokun in an interview with journalists yesterday through his mobile phone disclosed that the Assembly was being owed five months arrears for the running of the House totalling N75 million before the crisis broke out.

However, he added that shortly after the crisis, the state executive council paid the money to the Assembly's account.

According to him, the current leadership of the Coker-led Assembly had been putting pressures on the Assembly staff towards withdrawing the money.

His words: 'We are surprised. Why they should be desperate to get the money withdrawn. The police have sealed up the Assembly and the staffers are not allowed to go in.

'We wonder what they want to use the money for. The mere fact that they can have access to the Assembly treasury to get the book is an indication that there is collaboration between this group and the police,' Egbetokun lamented.

Reacting to the Egbetokun's group's action, the G. 9 Deputy Speaker, Edward Ayo Odugbesan  in a text message said: 'As at now, I don't have such information to the fact that the account of the House should be frozen.

'No money has been paid into the House account by the government. As a matter of fact, the G. 15 has no right to call the banks to freeze the account of the Assembly for any reason because  they have been suspended and are still under suspension. If they are ready for peace, they should go to court or face the disciplinary committee of the House.  They cannot sit down in Lagos and be dictating to us in Abeokuta.'