The Rivers State Government has accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of engaging on media trials.

Reacting to a report alleging that the government attention of the Rivers State Government has refused to release top officials for interrogation in connection to the withdrawal of N118 billion in cash between 2015 and 2018.

This was contained in a statement released by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim.

The state government foreclosed the release of any of its official without first setting aside subsisting orders of perpetual injunction backing the state not to release its officials for questioning.

The statement reads:

“We have repeatedly said that the state government will not release its officials to the EFCC for investigations until the commission approaches the court to set aside subsisting orders of perpetual injunction granted by various courts of competent jurisdiction restraining the EFCC from investigating or inquiring into the financial transactions of the rivers state government including its ministries, departments and agencies.

“In view of these subsisting judgments, it would amount to an act of brazen illegality for the EFCC to insist on interrogating any official of the rivers state government.

For the avoidance of doubt, no official of the Rivers State government would appear before the EFCC until the subsisting judgments in favour of the Rivers State Government are set aside on appeal.”

Nsirim reminded the anti-graft agency that media trial cannot take the place of extant laws.

He said: “Resorting to the Media can only be described as cheap blackmail and witch-hunt to turn away public attention from the development strides in the State.

“This media trial that they engage in all the time will not take the place of our extant laws no matter how hard they try.”

Cautioning the agency against yielding itself as a willing tool in the hands of politicians, the commissioner said: “The EFCC should stop playing to the gallery and pursue its war against corruption within the ambits of the law. Rivers State government is committed to the Rule of Law and cannot be intimidated by the EFCC.

“Those who want to use the EFCC to promote their political agenda in the State will fail because we know their antics.

“Targeting Rivers State for this occasional media trial should be seen by the public for what it is political witch-hunt.”