The story on the proposed withdrawal of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account is gradually changing.
The original claim by the office of the vice president in a statement signed by Laolu Akande, the spokesman to VP Osinbajo was 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, the governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, also made the point: “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),” he said.
Every statement after that has been consistent – the funds are supposed to go into the war against Boko Haram in the North East.
However opposition to the opacity of the whole endeavor has increased and continues to grow. Ekiti Gov. Ayo Fayose has bee the most forceful.
“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.
Suddenly, on Tuesday, the federal government, through the Vice President, made an about-turn.
Osinbajo who previously said the fund was for the Boko Haram war, changed position on Tuesday, saying the money was not meant for that purpose alone.
“It was on account of the security summit that the governors at the Governors’ Forum subsequently decided that they would vote a certain sum of money, which has become somewhat controversial, the $1bn, to assist the security architecture of the country.
“It was to assist all of the issues in the states, including policing in the states, community policing, all of the different security challenges that we have,” Osinbajo said at the ongoing retreat of secretaries to the government at state and federal levels in Abuja.
More to follow…