7 January 2013

Nigeria: 'North Misapplied N8.3 Trillion'

The sum of N8.3 trillion accrued to the North from the Federation Account in 11 years, according to official documents, but the opposition and other critics have alleged that a great deal of the money was misapplied.

Official documents from the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) show that the money represented the total allocation that was given to the 19 northern states and 413 local governments between 1999 and 2010.

Opposition parties in some northern states allege that the projects on ground do not justify the amount of money received, adding that the human development index has continued to dwindle during the period, giving rise to worsening poverty situation with attendant social insecurity.

Attempt to get reaction from the chairman of the northern governors' forum, Governor Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, was not successful but some former northern governors who spoke to Daily Trust denied that their regimes, in particular, had failed to justify the amount which they received while in office.

According to the 1999 Constitution, 26.72 percent and 20.60 percent of all the federally generated revenue shall be allocated to the 36 states and local government areas in the country.

The allocations include the13 percent derivation from mineral revenue, Value Added Tax (VAT), excess crude revenue, PP and royalties.

Based on the 2006 Census figures, the 19 states have a total population of 73.8 million, representing about 53.13 percent of the nation's total population.

The records show that within the same period, the 19 states had received a total of N4 trillion out of the total sum of N10.7 trillion shared to the 36 states and FCT as statutory allocation.

Also, the 413 local government areas in the north during the period received a total of N4.2 trillion out of the total sum of N7.5 trillion shared to the entire 774 local governments across the country.

State by state allocation

The breakdown shows that Kano State, with a population of 9.4 million had received N761.7 bn; N333.1bn for its 44 LGs and N428.4 bn for the state government during the period.

Katsina State with 5.8 million people got N564bn; N253.8 bn for its 34 LGs and N310 bn as state government allocation.

Kaduna State received N530.1bn for the period: N268.6bn for its 23 LGs and N261.5bn for the state; Borno got N503bn, N246.7bn for its 27 LGs and N256.3 bn for the state; Niger State got N487.2bn; N240.1 for its 25 LGs and N247.2 for the state; Benue State got N465.3bn, N233.5bn for its 23 LGs and N231.6 bn for the state.

Bauchi State received a total of N463.3bn, its 20 LGs getting N241.1bn and the state government got N222.1bn for the period. In the same order, Jigawa State got N475bn shared thus: N231.8bn for its 27 LGs and N243.2bn for the state; Adamawa State got N410.3bn, N213bn for its 21 LGs and N197.2bn for the state while Sokoto received N432.3bn, its 23 LGs getting N219.4bn and state government N212.9bn for the 11-year period .

For the same period, Kogi State got a total of N413bn, N200.3bn for the state government and N213.5bn for its 21 LGs. Others are Kebbi State, which got N209.8bn for its 21 LGs and N193.2bn, totalling N403.1bn; Kwara's 16 LGs got N192.1bn and state N153.2bn, amounting N345.3bn; Nasarawa State got N301.6bn: N179.6bn for its 13 LGs and N122bn for the state; Plateau's 17 LGs collected N207.9bn and the state N169.9bn, totalling N377.9bn.

Yobe state collected N364.9bn, N203bn for its 17 LGs and N161.8bn for the state; Gombe got N299.1bn shared between its 11 LGs (N185.1) and state government (N113bn); Zamfara state got N359.8bn, N205.7bn for its 14 LGs and N1544bn for the state while Taraba received a total of N370.2 bn, its 16 LGs getting N204.1bn and N166bn for the state government.

Analysts believe that significant percentage of these trillions was spent by the various states governments on recurrent expenditure.

A story done by Daily Trust recently revealed that about 28 state governments have proposed to spend about N2.105 trillion of their 2013 total budget of N4.96 trillion on salaries, allowances and other perks of government workers, overheads as well as other components of recurrent expenditure. This is despite concerns over the swollen recurrent expenditures of governments at all levels to the detriment of development projects.

What the opposition says

A member of the Kaduna state House of Assembly Mallam Mohammad Ali, of the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, said the amount received by the successive administration in the state was enough to turn around the state but that the government mismanaged the funds.

"The money was not used to better the lots of the people of the state; rather it was shared to some selected few. This is not peculiar to Kaduna alone but to the whole country," Ali said.

In Bauchi State, the opposition also cried foul. In their separate reactions, Hajiya Sa'adatu Mahmuda state chairperson of the DPP, Alhaji Aliyu Sa'idu caretaker committee chairman of CPC and Alhaji Nasiru Ibrahim Darazo, spokesman of the ACN accused governors of hijacking local government grants and refusing to channel the resources meant for the state to eradicate poverty and to address the problems of water scarcity both within urban and rural areas.

Former Kano State All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) legal adviser and presently a chieftain of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in the state, Dr. Baffa Babba Dan-Agundi, alleged that the spending of northern governments and especially that of Kano in the last 11years did not justify the amount of money received within the period.

Also speaking on the matter, rights campaigner and President of Civic Rights Congress (CRC), Malam Shehu Sani, alleged that half of the trillions received by the northern state governments only ended up in the pockets of the governors, their family members and herds of cronies.

Reaction from former governors

Senator Ahmed Mohammad Makarfi who was governor of Kaduna State from 1999 to 2007 said he used the money he got during his tenure judiciously to transform the state.

"There are numerous of them (projects) that I cannot mention them item by item but in terms of major issues which were done during my time, what you can't put price to was the restoration and sustenance of peace. Because of what we went through and how quickly we responded to those issues that restored peace and stability, commerce was booming and life was good.

"You can't put price to that because it was also a projects. Though not physical that you can touch but without it no any meaningful thing can take place. Equally, the state university is one of the leading universities. People then were saying they did not need it but today you see people bringing their children from abroad to school there.

"The Kawo overhead bridge has been very helpful. We also opened the new layout and established the School of Health Technology in Makarfi. Overall, we did the best that we could under the circumstances we found ourselves in," he said.

Also reacting, Vice President Mohammed Namadi Sambo who was governor of Kaduna state from 2007 to 2009 said all the projects he executed in Kaduna are still intact.

Sambo who spoke through his Special Adviser on Media Umar Sani listed some of the projects to include construction of three grain silos, extension of Kaduna government house, work on Zaria water treatment plant, renovation of Ahmadu Bello Stadium and Murtala Square.

"During our tenure, we were getting on average N3bn monthly and our salaries and wages was N2.2bn and even with this we were able to accelerate the development of the state," he said in a telephone interview.

Similarly, media representatives of governments of former Kano State governor, Malam Ibrahim Shekarau and incumbent governor of the state Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso have both denied claims that the state received a total of N700 billion over the last 11 years.

The spokesman for Shekarau, Malam Sule Ya'u Sule in his response dismissed the allegation as "a thrash", saying that all the records of amounts received by the state in the eight years that his principal governed, was included in the handover notes given to his successor.

He said: "For Allah's sake, put your sentiment aside and judge this issue dispassionately. Does this kind of claim make sense? This is not even news at all. What you should do is to enquire how much this government is getting and how much it is spending to improve the lives of the people."

On his part, Malam Jaafar Jaafar, a Media Assistant to Governor Kwankwaso said the claim cannot be true because the "during Kwankwaso's first tenure which began from 1999 to 2003, the government received only N70 billion".

"Our government is a transparent government that is only interested in people-oriented policies. You can see that our budget which dedicates 75 percent to capital project is the best in the country," he said.

In Nasarawa State, ex-official of the administration of former governor Abdullahi Adamu, Mallam Muhammad Kabir Abubakar, told Daily Trust that the pioneer civilian administration recorded some landmark projects, which he believed, have justified the clamour for state creation and what was received during his tenure.

Abubakar, who was the last commissioner of finance of that administration, named the abandoned Farin Ruwa hydro Electric Power Project which was designed to generate 20 mega watts, as well as the Karu International Market as examples. He also named 11 general hospitals and rehabilitation of water schemes in Lafia and Keffi, which at inception, were non-functional.

Mallam Abubakar named the establishment of Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), Nasarawa State Polytechnic, Lafia, School of Helath Technology, Keffi, and abandoned fertilizer blending plant, and two state secretariats in Lafia.

Alhaji Mustapha Aliyu, who served throughout the administration of Doma as commissioner in two different ministries, including information, also said that government justified the amount of money received.

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