30 January 2013

Nigeria: Excess Crude Account - Govs Insist On Supreme Court Resolution

The 36 state governors, under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), yesterday lambasted the federal government over its attitude to the management of Excess Crude Account and resolved not to entertain further adjournments of the case pending at the Supreme Court.

Several attempts for an out-of-court settlement at the instance of the federal government had failed to appease the governors who described the deductions made by the federal government from the account as illegal.

The governors stated this after their first meeting for the year, which was chaired by Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amaechi.

They also declared that they were not in opposition to the federal government. This was a response to Ijaw leader Chief Edwin Clark who had accused the Forum of many wrongs, including acting like an opposition group to the federal government.

With Amaechi's tenure as chairman of NGF coming to a close, LEADRSHIP gathered that there were moves to replace him with a governor from the North-West who is currently serving his second term in office.

Speaking also on the health condition of the Enugu State governor Sullivan Chime, he said, "I talked with him, put him on the phone to an editor (not LEADERSHIP) who is my friend. It was real."

In the communiqué, Amaechi revealed that the forum had resolved to hold a two-day retreat to deliberate on the current state of insecurity in the country. He, however, did not give a date for the retreat, but said it would be decided after a committee set up for the event turned in its report.

On the rising incidence of polio in the country, he said the body was unanimous in its agreement that it would lead the efforts to eradicate the virus by instituting a monthly campaign to be headed by governors in all the 36 states of the federation, and for governors from non-polio affected states to support their counterparts in affected states by joining them in their states during upcoming national polio campaign.

States represented at the meeting include Abia, Kogi, Kaduna, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Benue, kwara, Adamawa, Ogun, Lagos, Ekiti, Jigawa, Rivers, Bayelsa, Delta, Nasarawa, Taraba, kano, Sokoto, Bauchi, Ondo, Oyo and Anambra.

Jonathan pacifies governors with $1bn

President Goodluck Jonathan has directed that $1billion from the Excess Crude Account be given to governors of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Jonathan's decision, which was announced yesterday by Minister of State for Finance Dr. Yerima Ngama at the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting, was meant to assist the governors to execute more people-oriented projects in tandem with the transformation agenda of the current administration.

Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the NEC meeting, Rivers State Governor and chairman, Nigeria Governors' Forum (NGF), Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, disclosed that $9.242b remained in the Excess Crude Account after $1billion had been deducted from it for subsidy payments.

The NEC, chaired by Vice- President Namadi Sambo, also asked the states to key into the activities of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), with Abia, Kogi and Ogun states to be treated as pilot cases in the fight against the menace.

Abia State Governor Theodore Orji also said that the NEC deliberated on a report tendered by minister of national planning, Dr. Usman Shamsuddeen, who is also chairman of the ad-hoc committee on the states buy-in into the activities of NAPTIP.

Recommendations made for tackling human trafficking included the development and effective implementation of state level trafficking in persons plans of action, the development and strengthening of the states social welfare system's for child protection and the provision of basic needs, including medical care, educational, vocational and recreational facilities for victims of trafficking.

Others include the mobilizing and providing support for civil society organizations working to combat human trafficking and related issues, assisting and empowering identified victims of trafficking by providing educational grants, scholarships and other incentives and enabling, and fully implementing the Child's Rights Law in each state.

According to Orji, after adopting the recommendations, the NEC directed Shamsudeen and the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice as well as the director -general of NAPTIP to work closely with the states to ensure that there was a synergy towards tackling the situation.

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