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February 26, 2024

N30bn to state govts unverified: Akpabio apologises to governors

Gaza/Israel: We can no longer allow a child to die - Akpabio

Akpabio

By Henry Umoru

ABUJA – Senate President Godswill Akpabio has apologized to state governors and asked for forgiveness for his contentious statements that the federal government gave state governments N30 billion for various subnational interventions meant to improve the food situation for our citizens.

Recall that Akpabio had during the plenary of Wednesday, February 21, 2024, during the presentation of a report of the joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking, and Insurance, accused the governors of collecting over N30billion each and this had not gone well with the thirty-six state governors as they came out to attack the President of the state, denying that they never received such money from the federal government.

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, had said that “unconfirmed” intel showed that state governors received N30 billion each from the federation account to ameliorate inflation and the high cost of food in their respective states.

Last September, the federal government said that N2 billion was released to governors out of the N5 billion loan it offered to each state as a palliative to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.

A statement from the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity and official Spokesperson to the President of the Senate, Hon Eseme Eyiboh reads, “The office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to various misconceptions in the public domain on the statement credited to the President of the Senate in plenary of Wednesday, February 21, 2024, during the presentation of a report of the joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance.

During the session, the President of the Senate commented on the payment of an unverified cumulative sum of about #30b to the sub-national governments by the Federal Government for various interventions to ameliorate the food situation of our citizens at the sub-national governments.

“The unfortunate conjectures to take away the kernel in the material facts of FAAC payment are rather regrettable. In considering the well-intended motive of urging state governments to collaborate with the federal government of President Bola Tinubu to facilitate strategic interventions to mitigate the prevailing economic situation in the country remains the underpinning motivation in the comment.The President of the Senate is not oblivious to the fact that state governments are functional partners in all the efforts of the current administration of President Bola Tinubu and are also valuable stakeholders’ in the various legislative engagements of the legislature in creating the nexus between the legislature and the people.

“The President of the Senate has always demonstrated commitment to team building and shall not do less in the circumstance. He therefore urges the sub-national governments not to be distracted by any misunderstanding of the context and true meaning of the statement. The President of the Senate recognizes and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.

Recall that the President of the Senate, who raised the alarm that governors received N30 billion each to reduce hardships during the plenary, said that information available to him indicates that apart from the first tranche of funds given to the governors, an additional N30 billion were also to them through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Akpabio had said, “I must say that unverified report has it that each of the state governments in the last few months have received additional N30 billion from federal inland revenue service outside their normal allocations from the federation account to assist them in ameliorating the food situation”.

Akpabio who advised the governors to utilise the funds judiciously in order to reduce the high cost of food items and other challenges facing the country, said, “We believed that every state government should utilise the funds received towards ensuring that food is available in the country.

“So, the state governments have a lot to do. They are close to the people and I do not want to mention local government because most of the local governments are controlled by the state governors.

“My belief is that if the state government does what is needed, then the local government will be involved in sharing to make sure that these things get to the people. But we must not overlook the fact that Nigerians are not going to be interested in stories.

“Nigerians want to see action. Nigerians want to eat and we will provide food for them, there is no excuse. Despite what we met on the ground.”