Written by Isiaka Wakili
.Osinbajo heads c’ttee to examine excess crude account
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday vowed to recover funds stolen by government officials who abused their offices in recent past.
Buhari also vowed to stop systemic leakages, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted him as saying during a meeting with governors in the Presidential Villa.
“The next three months may be hard, but billions of dollars can be recovered, and we will do our best,” the President told the governors.
Buhari said a comprehensive statement on the economic and financial situation inherited by his government would be made public within the next four weeks.
He assured the governors that the days of impunity, lack of accountability, and fiscal recklessness in the management of national resources are over in Nigeria.
“There are financial and administrative instructions in every government parastatal and agency. But all these were thrown to the dogs in the past.
“Honestly, our problems are great, but we will do our best to surmount them,” Buhari said.
The president said the state of the economy inherited by his government was worse than that of the Second Republic. He said: “We’ll try and put the system back into the right position. What happened in the 2nd Republic has apparently happened again, and even worse, but we will restore sanity to the system”.
Buhari expressed surprise that the governors had tolerated the atrocities allegedly committed with the Excess Crude Account since 2011, and pledged to decisively tackle the issue.
He said the payment of national revenue into any account other than the Federation Account is an abuse of the constitution.
He said he had reports of illegal activities going on in many agencies and corporation, especially the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). The president also assured the governors that his administration would refund the monies spent on federal projects by states.
He, however, insisted that in refunding the monies, due process must be followed.
The president said a committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, would look at the Excess Crude Account and see what could be shared immediately as a lifeline for states that were heavily in debt and owed salaries running into many months.
He also pledged special assistance for the three north- eastern states of Yobe, Borno and Adamawa ravaged by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Zamfara State Governor, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State presented the following wish list to Buhari: *Obedience of extant Supreme Court ruling that all monies go into the Consolidated Federation Account; *An order from the president that all revenue generating agencies must be paid into the Consolidated Federation Account
*Review of the Revenue Allocation Formula; refund of the monies expended by states on federal projects
*A special consideration for the three states of the North East under Boko Haram infestation.
*Details of the amounts that accrued into the Excess Crude Account from 2011, and how the money “miraculously shrank” without official sharing.
The governors present at the meeting included those of Osun, Abia, Nasarawa, Imo, Gombe, Benue, Delta, Niger, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Kogi, Borno, Jigawa, Rivers, Ogun, Kebbi, Kwara, Taraba, Ekiti, Ondo, Kaduna, Oyo, Edo, Anambra, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Lagos, Adamawa, Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, while those of Yobe, Plateau and Bayelsa States were represented by their deputies.
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