At the National Economic Council meeting on Thursday, state governors reportedly agreed to contribute over $1 billion to support military operations in the North East. A statement from the office of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said that: “The Chairman Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abdulazeez Yari informed Council that Governors have offered to contribute over $1 billion to support Military Operations in the North East. Governors said money should be taken from the Excess Crude Account.”
After the meeting, at a press conference addressed by both the Edo Gov. Godwin Obaseki of the APC and Gombe Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo of the PDP, it was said that, “the governors of Nigeria through their chairman announced at the NEC meeting that the governors have given permission to the Federal Government to spend the sum of $1billion in the fight of insurgency. This money is supposed to be taken from the Excess Crude Account (ECA).”
Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti has however broken ranks with his colleagues on the matter, saying the decision to withdraw the funds is a means by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led federal government to fund President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election in 2019.
“For posterity sake, I wish to place it on record that I was not among the governors, who approved the withdrawal of almost half of our savings in the Excess Crude Account, which belongs to the three tiers of government to fight an already defeated insurgency,” he said in a statement issued in Ado Ekiti on Friday, and signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka.
- Since the FG says it has defeated Boko Haram, “what else do they need a whopping sum of $1 billion (over N360 billion) for; if not to fund the 2019 elections?”
- N360 billion is equivalent to what the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) shares to the federal government, 36 States and 777 Local Councils monthly. “Nigerians deserve proper explanations from the federal government on the rationale behind spending such huge sum of money to fight an already defeated Boko Haram,” he said.
- A call for transparency: Fayose said the federal government needs to make available to Nigerians how the money released by international donors for the fight against Boko Haram was spent, adding that; “Even the Transparency International (TI) once said in its report that some top military officials in the country were feeding fat from the war against Boko Haram by creating fake contracts and laundering the proceeds in the United States, United Kingdom and elsewhere.”
- An FG solo decision: Despite the fact that the NGF chairman Yari, as well as Governors Obaseki and Dankwambo have all spoken in support of the deduction, the Ekiti governor said that “it was solely the idea of the federal government, which they used the arranged National Executive [sic] Council meeting to achieve.” He queried why the federal government alone should spend almost half of the Excess Crude money that belongs to the three tiers of government (i.e. Federal Government, States and Local Councils). At the NEC meeting, the Accountant-General of the Federation disclosed that the balance in the ECA as at 13th December, 2017 is $2.317 billion.
- “The reality is that our treasury is daily being looted in readiness for the 2019 elections. Nigerians are therefore alerted to this lootings by the APC led federal government to amass huge fund for the 2019 elections under the pretense of fighting insurgency in the Northeast as well as other dubious means,” Fayose said.