BENIN—Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, has told former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that resorting to blackmail will not help her case, insisting that the former minister must explain what happened to the $2.1billion Excess Crude Account, ECA, funds.
In a statement, yesterday in Benin, by Prince Kassim Afegbua, Special Adviser, Media and Public Affairs to the governor, said “It is instructive at this point in time to state categorically without equivocation that there is nothing “personal” between Okonjo-Iweala and Oshiomhole in terms of the request by the Edo governor that Okonjo-Iweala should come clean on the issue of revenue that accrued to the Excess Crude Account.
“As much as her spokesman tries to dramatize his response in defense of his boss, he has shown a manifest uninformed disposition to issues of simple economics of naira and kobo. Here is a former minister who has changed her position four times in the last 40 days, each position exposing her dubiety of facts and inherent contradictions in the concocted tales she has been weaving on one simple issue: what happened to the $2.1b ECA funds?
“The simple questions which the governor asked were: how come those accruals into the Excess Crude Account got depleted without the knowledge of the National Economic Council? How come monies that were supposed to accrue into the said account cannot be found in it going by the balance sheet provided by the former minister?
“How come the minister unilaterally dipped her hand into the Excess Crude Account to spend money in defiance of the constitution and the laws of the land? How come that the minister finds it convenient to publish allocations to States and Local Governments, but refused to publish accruals into the same account for us to know the status of the account at any point in time; how much was left from where she was distributing from?
“What the governor stated was that; it was interesting to note that by December 2012, the ECA had a balance of over $10billion. This had been depleted to $2.07billion by May 2015, according to the former Finance Minister. Between January 2013 and May 2015, not more than $4billion was shared among the three tiers of government. Indeed, the last time any money was shared from the ECA was in May 2013.”