The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, who is also the Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, has alleged that the sum of $5b was withdrawn, mysteriously, from the Excess Crude Account.
Amaechi, who spoke at the NGF retreat held in Sokoto on Saturday, said there was $9b in the account in January this year, but regretted that the amount had depleted without the governors knowing why the money was withdrawn.
He regretted that it happened to an account belonging to the three tiers of government, namely federal, states and local governments.
He said, “The Excess Crude Account in January was N9bn. That account belongs to federal, states and local governments. Today it is N4bn. We don’t know who took the $5bn.”
Money accruing from the Federation Account and the sharing of the money by the Federal Account Allocation Committee was one of the topics discussed at the retreat.
Amaechi also alleged that the Federal Government had been using anti-corruption agencies to harass governors, who held different opinions from that of President Goodluck Jonathan.
He wondered why the anti-corruption agencies had refused to visit other government establishments like the federal ministries of work, finance, Niger Delta and even the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
Instead of this, he said the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was always going to such states like Kano and Jigawa, where governors of the affected states held different political views from that of President Jonathan.
He said, “Today, the EFCC is either in Jigawa or in Kano states because they (the governors) disagree with the President. What about NNPC? What about Ministry of Niger Delta and the Ministry of Works?
“The whole governors put together receive 26 per cent from the revenue of the Federation. The Federal Government gets 52 per cent. And with that 52 per cent, nobody goes after the Federal Government to say how did you spend it. And then you go after those who get 26 per cent.
“Even if you recover all the 26 per cent, what have you benefitted from it as against those who have stolen 52 per cent?”
Justifying that the Federal Government was against the states it perceived as having different political opinions from that of the President, Amaechi alleged that the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had refused to approve the loan his state negotiated with the African Development Bank.
He said talks and agreement had already been concluded on the $200m loan, which he said was going to be used for water projects in Rivers State.
According to him, “All the requirements have been met to give us $200million as loan for water in Rivers State. We travelled and concluded every arrangement but the Minister of Finance, who by international standard is recognised in the world, has refused to sign for us to provide water for Rivers people.”
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mallam Waziri Tambuwal, said there was the need to amend the Constitution, which he said conferred too much powers on the Federal Government.
Tambuwal, who spoke on the ‘Role of states in deepening democracy and good governance in Nigeria’, said that parliamentary system of government was good, but regretted that it was terminated by the military.