The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, Thursday attempted to weigh in on the circumstances surrounding Nigeria’s depleted $55 billion foreign reserves.
Mr. Akpabio, who spoke at the official flag off of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, presidential campaign in Lagos, said state governors prevailed on President Goodluck Jonathan to share the money.
“People are starting to talk about money. We governors here were the ones who told the president that our children are crying, the effect of the bad economy due to dwindling oil prices,” Mr. Akpabio told the crowd present at the rally.
“We cannot say we are saving money when people are hungry. You cannot save money when your child is in the hospital. If your child dies you are a fool.”
While hosting some Southwest women leaders last Monday, former President Olusegun Obasanjo had lambasted Mr. Jonathan for “squandering” the $55 billion excess crude oil savings and foreign reserves left by his administration.
But the Finance Ministry, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had risen to the president’s defence, describing Mr. Obasanjo’s claims as “absolutely not true.”
“The facts are clear and indisputable. At the end of May 2007, Nigeria’s gross reserves stood at $43.13 billion, comprising the CBN’s external reserves of $31.5billion, $9.43billion in the Excess Crude Account, and $2.18 billion in Federal Government’s savings,” the finance ministry said in a statement.
“The excess crude savings which is a component of the reserves, was largely used to cushion the economy at the height of the global financial crisis in 2008-2009,” it added.
On Thursday, Mr. Akpabio said the money was shared among the three tiers of government “for use by all Nigerians”.
“No money is missing. Do not listen to propaganda. Let us face reality,” he added.