The governors accuse the Federal Government of financial recklessness and abuse of the Constitution.
The governors of the 36 states of the federation have asked Nigeria’s National Assembly to investigate the reported missing of about $49.8 billion, which translates to about N8.5 Trillion naira or the equivalent of two years budget.
The issue of the missing money came to limelight recently after the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Sanusi Lamido wrote to President Jonathan intimating him on the issue and asking him to take action.
The governors met under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, at the Rivers State Governor’s Lodge, Abuja and their position was made known via a communique read at the end of the meeting by their chairman and Rivers state Governor, Rotimi Amaechi.
Despite claims by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation that a huge chunk of the funds said to be missing had been reconciled, the governors insisted “there is no evidence that this amount was paid into the Federation Account or duly appropriated”.
“We accordingly call on the National Assembly to institute a comprehensive independent forensic audit by an international reputable firm,” they said.
They argued that the recent decline in remittances to state from the federation might not be unconnected with the alleged diversion of revenues.
The governors also accused the Federal Government of breaching the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 for failing to consult with states before the nation’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, was laid before the National Assembly.
They said consultation with states on the MTEF and Fiscal Strategy Paper 2014-2016 did not hold.
The governors also said the National Economic Council , NEC, meeting where issues such as the MTEF would have been discussed last held four months ago.
Sins of the Federal Government
The NGF said financial irregularities relating to public accounting, the lack of compliance with the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007, and the recent security breaches were not unconnected with the refusal of the Federal Government to convene meetings of statutory institutions created in the Constitution.
They said meetings of strategic organs of government such as the National Economic Council, NEC, the Council of State, the Nigeria Police Council and that of the Federation Account Allocation Committee, FAAC, have lately been ignored.
“We urge a return to the path of constitutionalism,” the governors said.
Condemns Borno, Rivers attacks
The NGF also condemned the recent bomb attack in Maiduguri, Borno state which led to the death of over 40 people and the disruption of a gathering in Port Harcourt by the police in which Senator Magnus Abe was reportedly shot.
The governors also condemned the recent attack on the father of Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso of Kano state.
“We also condemn the flagrant violation of the rights of citizens to freely assemble in Rivers State by the Nigerian Police; the excessive use of force against unarmed citizens in the exercise of their fundamental rights and the shooting of Senator Magnus Abe,” the NGF said.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Amaechi and had in attendance Governors Murtala Nyako of Adamawa, Adams Oshiomhole of Edo, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Babatunde Fashola of Lagos, Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara, and Rochas Okorocha of Imo.
Governors Kwankwaso, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara, Sule Lamido of Jigawa and Tanko Almakura of Nasarawa states were represented by their deputies.