By SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN — THE Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Mr. Samson Osagie, has urged the Presidency to direct the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala, to urgently pay state governments their withheld three months statutory allocations or face the wrath of the National Assembly.
Noting that the National Assembly will not fold its arms and allow the Federal Government destroy the economies of states perceived to be anti- Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, policies, he admonished state governors to head to court and obtain an order of mandamus, to compel the Finance Minister to release the withheld funds.
Osagie, who represents Uhumnwonde/Orhionmwon federal constituency, expressed fears that the prevailing situation could destroy the economies of states, which according to him would pitch the people against their governors, and stressed the need for the Federal Government to be compelled to pay allocations due to state governments immediately.
He said: “The Presidency should urgently direct the Minister of Finance to stop playing politics with the statutory allocations of state governments to avert a collapse of the economies of the states over non-remittance of statutory allocations to them for almost three months. Members of the National Assembly are worried that the states have not received statutory allocations from the Federation Account even in the face of improved revenue from both oil and non-oil sources.
“We don’t want to accept any argument of paucity of funds as field reports from our oversight functions show that revenue targets have been met and surpassed. We will not fold our hands and allow the Federal Government to deny states of their entitlements from the Federation Account in order to make state governors pliable to the PDP government’s ambition to hold on to power beyond 2015.”
He called on the governors, to “seek an order of mandamus to compel the Finance Minister to release the funds. We will defend our states and local governments because they are the units of development and delivery of democratic dividends.”