The House of Representatives on Thursday directed the House Committee on Finance to audit the Excess Crude Accounts, over the National Economic Council, NEC, approval of $1 billion to fight Boko Haram insurgency.
Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara gave the directive after the motion sponsored by Honourable Ken Chikere, entitled “Need to deduct 13 percent derivation from the $1 billion approved by the National Economic Council to fight Boko Haram Insurgency” was stepped down.
The Speaker gave the committee four weeks to carry out the exercise and report back to the House for further legislative action.
The motion read: That at the 83rd meeting of the National Economic Council held at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja on 14 December, 2017, the 36 Governors of the states of Nigeria approved the deduction of the sum of $1 billion by the Federal Government from the Excess Crude Account, ECA to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.
“Section 162(2) of the 1999 constitution states 13 percent of the proceeds of the oil-producing states in Nigeria as derivation fund payable to the benefitting States of Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Abia, Imo, Ondo, Anambra and Lagos.
“The 13 percent derivation fund payable to oil-producing states had not been deducted and paid to them from the $1 billion before or after the approval of the said sum to fight Boko Haram insurgency.
“The 13 percent derivation fund is not deducted from the $1 billion and paid to the oil producing states, it would amount to double contribution from the said states and also a breach of Section 162(2) of the 1999 constitution and Section 1 of the Allocation of Revenue (Federal Account etc.) Act, Cap. A15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
He then prayed the House to resolved that, “The Federal Ministry of Finance to ensure that the sum representing 13 percent of the $1 billion approved by the National Economic Council on 14 December 2017 to fight Boko Haram insurgency is dedicated and paid to the oil-producing states in Nigeria in compliance with Section 162(2) of the 1999 constitution.
“Mandate the committees on Finance and Legislative Compliance to ensure compliance”.
During debate on the motion before it was stepped down, a member Honourable Henry Archiving queried whether the money approved by NEC belong to the states only or for the three tiers of government.
Honourable Ahman Pategi, however, said that the issue raised by the sponsor of the motion had to do with ” accounting” and “constitutional issue”.
The Deputy Speaker, Honourable Lasun Yusuf, however, emphasised the need to understand the source of the fund, saying that there was a need to understand the Federation Account and Consolidated Account so that in near future there is no eyebrow on such approval.
Speaking further, the Deputy Speaker said that, “I think this motion is very important because of so many parts of the country it is touching. Whatever touches Boko Haram, let’s deal with it because we have suffered negatively from Boko Haram. It is a purely constitutional matter.
“One of the confusing things is that, a federation account from the consolidated account. The motion is relevant. Where is the aspect of the federation account we can still talk about? Let’s us all agree that the issue of Boko Haram is germane. We should sit down and begin to separate the federation and consolidated accounts. Our constitution does not clearly separate the federation account from the consolidated account. Each time I come here, I have my fears. The issue of Boko Haram is very important”.
In his contribution, Hon. Nkem Abonta said that “We have to know which part of the money is that one billion dollar so that we will know what belongs to the state and federal government so as to know whether that of the federal government had been tampered with. We are merely speculating. The AGF should tell us what is in that account and we must do that immediately”.
Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf in his argument said that “I discovered that the explanation came later after the backlash from the governors. We are asking what the States do with their money but we need proofs, we need conviction that it is State money”.