By Demola Akinyemi
ILORIN—The Labour Party, LP, yesterday, kicked against the Federal Government’s approval for the release of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account, ECA, to prosecute the war against the Boko Haram insurgency.
The Nigerian Governors Forum, recently, announced its approval for the Federal Government to withdraw the sum of $1billion from the ECA to enable the government procure military hardware and other logistics for the ongoing counter insurgency in the North-East.
The party criticised the decision to vote such a whooping sum for only insurgency when funds earmarked for crucial sectors like education are grossly insufficient going by globally recognized standards.
LP National Chairman, Dr Mike Omotosho, in a statement issued in Ilorin, wondered why the government could only think of spending such huge fund on the fight against Boko Haram when other issues including abject poverty and hunger are ravaging the land.
“Take education for instance, university lecturers have been paid half salaries since December 2015 and are being owed N619billion quoting ASUU,’’ he questioned the approval at a time the Federal Government claimed it had decimated the Boko Haram insurgents.
He added that the idea was ill conceived and makes the government appear unresponsive to the cries of the masses even as security is imperative across the entire country.
Omotosho said his party had taken stock of reactions of ordinary Nigerians across divides and maintained that in as much as it was the duty of the government to budget fund for security, the sum of $1 billion was outrageous especially for a country that allocates a mere 7% to education while other African countries’ education budget are in double digits.
He said: “In a country that is grappling with abject poverty and hunger, the government is duty bound to use such huge sum not only for security but education and other crucial sectors that are currently begging for attention.
‘’Government’s claim of deploying such fund to security in the North East alone when million of people are losing jobs daily and civil servants are being owed salaries among other ills is antithetical to equal opportunity and social justice,” Omotosho said.
“As a party, that cares about the welfare of the people, we know the importance of winning the fight against Boko Haram insurgency in the North East because of the colossal damage and ruins it has done to our nation.
“While we appreciate the Federal Government that it has shown the willingness to prosecute the fight against insurgents with deployment of the Armed Forces, we cannot afford to keep mum on what concerns us all as a people.