16th January, 2014
The Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), on Thursday asked the National Assembly to hire an independent firm to audit the federation account over allegations that a sum of $49.8 billion was not remitted into the consolidated revenue fund.
This call was contained in a communiqué issued by the forum after its meeting under the chairmanship of Rivers Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, in Abuja.
The missing fund was first raised by the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in a letter to President Jonathan last September. The letter came into public space in December.
Sanusi had told Jonathan that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation failed to remit the fund realized from sale of crude oil into the national purse.
However, at a public hearing conducted by a Senate Committee into the issue, Sanusi, NNPC and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, the Minister of Finance said the allegations of the missing funds arose out of misconception and failures to reconcile figures of funds remitted to the national purse by the relevant agencies.
After the reconciliation, over $10.9 billion remained unremitted by the NNPC.
At a recent press conference, NNPC said it used the fund to pay for subsidies and repair of vandalized oil pipelines.
But the NGF insisted in the communiqué for an independent audit: “On the issue of the missing 49.8 billion dollars (about N8.5 trillion), there is no evidence that the amount was paid into the federation account or dully appropriated,”
“We accordingly call on the National Assembly to institute a comprehensive independent forensic audit by an international reputable firm. We fear that the recent decline of state revenue is not unconnected with the financial diversion,” the Forum added in the Communiqué signed by its Chairman.
NGF also condemned the recent killings in Borno and the attack on the father of Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso in the communiqué.
The forum called on the Federal Government to convene a meeting of statutory institutions as enshrined in the constitution.
It listed such institutions to include the National Economic Council (NEC), Council of States, Nigeria Police Council and the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC). NGF noted that NEC meeting, where such issues are usually discussed, was last held four months ago.
NGF said the irregularities being noticed in public accounting and the continuous breach of the 2007 Fiscal Responsibility Act were due to the refusal of the presidency to convene such meetings.
NGF meeting also called for also called for a return to constitutionalism in the country.
The meeting was attended by seven governors and four deputy Governors.
Governors at the meeting were those of Rivers, Lagos, Adamawa, Edo, Jigawa, Imo and Ekiti States, while Nassarawa, Kwara, Zamfara and Kano States, were represented by their deputies.