Amaechi-led NGF asks N-Assembly to probe missing N8.5trn oil money

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BY HENRY UMORU

ABUJA—GOVERNOR  Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State-led Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, has asked the National Assembly, to as a matter of urgency, appoint a reputable accounting firm to carry out a forensic investigation over the alleged missing $49.8 billion (about N8.5 trillion) oil money.

*Governor, Rotimi Amaechi

*Governor, Rotimi Amaechi

The alleged missing money is equivalent to two years of the country’s annual budgets.

The demand was contained in a communiqué issued after the NGF’s meeting at Rivers State Governors’ Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, yesterday.

The governors said that the recent decline in revenue accruing from the Federation Account to the 36 states and Abuja was occasioned by alleged diversion of oil money just as they accused President Goodluck Jonathan of clear breach of constitutional provisions in his presentation of the 2014 budget.

The communiqué was read by the NGF Chairman, Amaechi.

He said, “we members of the NGF, at our meeting today (yesterday), at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja deliberated on a number of issues and resolved as follows: On the issue of the missing $49.8 billion (N8.5 trillion) or equivalent of two years of the national budget, there is no evidence that this amount was paid into the Federation Account or duly appropriated.

“We, accordingly, call on the National Assembly to institute a comprehensive independent forensic audit by an international reputable firm. We fear that the recent decline of states’ revenues is not unconnected with the financial diversion.

“In clear breach of the provision of Section 11, Part II of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007 which requires the Federal Government to hold consultations with states before the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, is laid before the National Assembly; consultation with states on the MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper (2014-2016) did not hold. The National Economic Council, NEC, meeting where issues of this nature would have been discussed last held four months ago.

“We note with total dismay the recent violent attacks and killings that have taken place in Borno State as well as the attack on the father of the Kano State Governor, Alhaji Rabiu Kwakwanso. We also condemn the flagrant violation of the rights of citizens to freely assemble in Rivers State by the Nigerian Police; the excessive use of force against unarmed citizens in the exercise of their fundamental rights and the shooting of Senator Magnus Abe.

“The financial irregularities relating to public accounting, the lack of compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, and the recent security breaches are not unconnected with the refusal of the Federal Government to convene meetings of statutory institutions created in the Constitution such as the National Economic Council, NEC, the Council of State, the Nigeria Police Council and meetings of the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC. We urge a return to the path of constitutionalism.”

Present at the meeting were the governors of Edo, Ekiti, Rivers, Lagos and Imo States. They also included the deputy governors of Nasarawa, Kwara, Zamfara, Kano and Jigawa States.

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