JUST IN: Nigerian governors establish committee to probe nation’s Ecological Fund

From left: Governors Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara; Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos; Simon Lalong of Pleatau; Abdul’aziz Yari of Zamfara; and Abubakar Bello of Niger, during the National Economic Council Meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Thursday (27/4/17). 20311/27/4/2017/Ibrahim Sumaila/BJO/NAN

The governors of Nigeria’s 36 states have formed a committee to audit the country’s Ecological Fund.

The governors set up the committee as part of the resolution of the meeting of the National Economic Council, NEC, which held on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja under Vice president Yemi Osinbajo.

According to the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, who briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, membership of the committee includes governors of Oyo, Borno, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Anambra as well as the ministers of finance and environment.

Mr. Obiano also said the balance in the Ecological Fund stood at N33.6 billion.

Throwing more light, the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, said the governors decided to audit the fund because although states have not collected any money since the coming into office of President Muhammadu Buhari almost two years ago, the balance appears to be dwindling.

“No state has collected money from the ecological funds in the last one or two years and we notice that the balance is going down. Somebody must be touching it,” he said.

Mr. Obiano had earlier revealed that the Accountant General of the Federation who briefed the Council informed that that the balance in the Nation’s Natural Resources Fund stood at N70.9 billion.

He also said the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, in her presentation told the NEC that the balance in the country’s excess crude account as at April 26, 2017 stood at $2.2 billion dollars.

He also said the finance minister told the meeting that the newly established efficiency unit at the ministry has so far saved Nigeria N17 billion.

The minister advised the governors to also look at the possibility of establishing the unit in their states.

The National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, who also spoke at the briefing said he gave a report of the security situation in the country to the council.

He said his briefing centred around the activities of cattle rustlers, herdsmen and farmers clashes and criminal elements.

He said he informed that council that security agencies in the country are currently engaged “in general nationwide crackdown on all criminal elements.”

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