2015: ACN alleges FG’s abuse of Sure-P funds to empower cronies
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has warned that the Federal Government’s current abuse of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P), set up in the wake of last year’s partial removal of fuel
subsidy, amounts to a gross violation of the country’s constitution and constitutes an impeachable offence.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the PDP-controlled federal government is now using part of the funds accruing to the programme to empower the party’s cronies ahead of the 2015 general elections, instead of using it for the benefit of all Nigerians.
It warned SURE-P’s head, Dr Christopher Kolade, a respectable citizen who is known for his transparency and integrity, not to allow the skewed and partisan implementation of the programme by the FG to tarnish his hard-earned reputation.
”Ordinarily, SURE-P seems laudable as it is aimed at the empowerment of the citizens through job creation and infrastructure development, but in reality, PDP apparachiks have hijacked it for the purpose of empowering only the party’s members.
They have created State Implementation Committees (SICs) to handle the disbursement of SURE-P cash to party members as a strategy to arm them with a war chest ahead of the 2015 elections.
”To make matters worse, the PDP is denigrating the traditional institution by using traditional rulers in some states as the conduit to distribute SURE-P funds, ostensibly to empower Nigerians but in reality to put money in the pockets of PDP supporters,” ACN said.
The party reminded the FG that only bodies created by law can disburse funds accruing to the Federation Account, and warned that since the SICs are not recognized by the law, it is an illegal body and its operations violate the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
”Money being spent on fuel subsidies was in the past taken out of the Federation Account, hence its is money that would have been
divided among the three tiers of government in accordance with the revenue allocation formula.
”But by virtue of the SURE-P arrangement, the funds are now available for the FG to share freely by approving contracts, programmes and activities in accordance with its whims and caprices. The PDP-controlled FG has now seen the accruing huge funds as money which may well be spent with special favour for its cronies and party affiliates.
”This is very dangerous for the polity as the funds are now been used to empower PDP and its pointsmen to commence early preparations
for the 2015 elections. It risks undulating the playing field ahead of the 2015 general elections, thus giving the ruling party an edge over the
others,” it said.
ACN also warns that the abuse of SURE-P will simply create a monument to corruption, since accountability and transparency are being
sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.
”The abuse of SURE-P by the PDP-led FG, which is now awash in free funds, may well blow up in Nigeria’s face unless urgent steps are taken
to ensure due process in its disbursement and transparency, especially concerning the origin and track records of those who are eventually
entrusted with this hard-earned money for the benefit of Nigerians.
”In any case, we will like to remind the FG that any kobo spent outside the ambit of the 2013 budget and without going through the regular
governmental agencies and processes is illegal and fraudulent. Above all, it violates the constitution, which is crystal clear on the question of public expenditure. Therefore, setting up a phoney structure for the disbursement and expenditure of public funds will have grim consequences for all
those involved,” the party warned.