…States in the dark over source of money
…Why FG summoned NEC meeting
BY SONI DANIEL
ABUJA—Fresh facts emerged yesterday on why the Presidency called for a meeting of the National Economic Council meeting, NEC, which was held in Abuja yesterday after shying away from holding the meeting for nine months.
The NEC meeting, which is being chaired by the Vice President, Arc. Namadi Sambo, is a forum where all the 36 governors and the members of the Economic management team meet regularly to deliberate on the nation’s economy.
Surprisingly, the Presidency has not summoned the meeting in the last nine months despite renewed agitations by aggrieved governors.
Just at the same time when the meeting of the NEC was put in abeyance, the sweeping allegations of missing $20 billion oil money cropped up, forcing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, which generates much of the money into the Federation Account, to explain that no money was missing.
But the period witnessed a steady reduction in the monthly allocations to states, forcing most states to scale down on their projects and services.
But Vanguard learnt from authoritative sources that the Federal Government, which has been finding it difficult to justify the suspension of NEC for about a year, made a deliberate effort to appease the governorS by putting the sum of $1billion into the Excess Crude Account and immediately called a meeting of the council with a view to sharing it to the states.
A governor, who attended the NEC meeting, told Vanguard that they were shocked to discover that the Federal Government had boosted the ECA with $1billion without indicating where the money came from.
“We were surprised to see the $1billion credited to the ECA, which has accordingly boosted our monthly allocations but the source of the money has not been indicated.
“We decided to attend the NEC meeting so as to know how the money came about and to know why our monthly revenue has been declining steadily over a period of nine months.
Another governor said: “Whatever happens we are happy that our monthly revenue allocations has been slightly raised even though the Federal Government has not bothered to tell us why our allocations were slashed for nine months and where it is suddenly raising money to beef up our allocations.
At the meeting of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in Abuja last month, the governors chided the Federal Government for not calling the NEC meeting for many months and for suspending Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, as the CBN governor, alleging that the action was to distract attention from the ‘missing $20 billion’, which the sacked governor had accused the NNPC of not remitting to the national coffers.
One governor confirmed yesterday that the allocations to his state, which had been slashed by billions of Naira in the last eight months, has now been restored by the federal authorities.
“If they claim money is not being kept away from the federation account, where did they suddenly get the $1billion into the ECA; we just want an answer’” the source said.