Nigerians were given a shocker two days ago when President Muhammadu Buhari revealed that he inherited an empty treasury from the past administration. But as anticipated and opined by several concerned citizens, whom expressed optimism in the President’s anti-corruption reputation, Buhari has disclosed his next step of action against those responsible for the financial shortage being experienced in the country.
President Buhari vows to recover stolen billions, Buhari blows hot, vows to recover all stolen funds, we’ll recover funds stolen by govt officials- Buhari, oil sector rotten as well as APC senators fight as truce meeting fails again dominates the front pages of the national dailies for Wednesday, June 24, 2015.
THE NATION reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday, June 23, gave a notice to treasury looters in the Goodluck Jonathan administration that his administration is coming after them, and vowed to recover billions of dollars stolen from the treasury. He made this known during his first meeting with the 36 states governors at the Presidential Villa in Abuja. The President said there are financial and administrative instructions in every government parastatal and agency, but revealed that all these were thrown to the dogs in the past. He admitted that the country’s problems are great, but promised to do his best to surmount them. He said the next three months may be hard, but billions of dollars can be recovered.
The President at another forum yesterday, during a meeting with Northern Traditional Rulers Council led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, disclosed that his government had received firm assurances of cooperation from the United States and other countries on the recovery and repatriation of funds stolen from Nigeria.
Femi Adesina, the special adviser on media and publicity in a statement said the president assured that in the next three months, his administration will be busy getting the facts and the figures to help recover the stolen funds in foreign countries. According to Buhari, the report submitted by the Ahmed Joda-led transition committee showed that many revenue-generating institutions in the country have been compromised, which led the country to a weak economy.
The President, who expressed surprise that the governors had tolerated the atrocities allegedly committed with the Excess Crude Account (ECA) since 2011, promised to tackle the issue decisively. He said the days of impunity, lack of accountability, and fiscal recklessness in the management of national resources are over. He also vowed that systemic leakages will be stopped. According to Buhari, payment of national revenue into any account other than the Federation Account is an abuse of the Constitution, which he said is going on in many agencies and corporations, especially the NNPC. He assured the governors that the Federal Government will pay the monies spent on federal projects, but insisted that due process must be followed.
THE VANGUARD reports that President Buhari, during a meeting with the state governors at the State House, on Tuesday, June 23, stated that what happened in government in the recent past was worse than what happened during the Second Republic which led to the overthrow of the Shagari administration, but promised that he would do his best to restore sanity to the system.
The meeting with the governors yesterday was aimed at addressing the crippling economic situation in some states which was responsible for non-payment of salaries by several states. Buhari inaugurated a committee under the leadership of the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to look at the Excess Crude Account and see what can be shared immediately to alleviate the effects of the economic crisis on the states.
The President, however, assured state governors that the days of impunity, lack of accountability, and fiscal recklessness in the management of national resources are over in Nigeria. He said a comprehensive statement on the economic and financial situation inherited by his administration will be made to the nation within the next four weeks. He said his government will try and put the system back into the right position, noting that what happened in the Second Republic has apparently happened again, and even worse, but assured to restore sanity to the system.
President Buhari said the committee headed by the Vice President will look at the Excess Crude Account and see what can be shared immediately for the states owing salaries. The governors, who were led by Chairman of the Governors Forum, Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara State, told the President to, among other things, ensure the obedience of extant Supreme Court ruling that all monies go into the Consolidated Federation Account. They also pleaded with the President to give a directive that all revenue generating agencies must pay into the Consolidated Federation Account.
THE GUARDIAN also reported on Tuesday, June 23, that President Muhammadu Buhari was going after looters, adding that it made it known during a meeting with the 36 states governors. The governors at the meeting demanded the review of the Revenue Allocation Formula; special consideration for the three states of the North East under Boko Haram infestation; full details of the amounts that accrued into the Excess Crude Account from 2011, and how the money shrank without official sharing.
The governors also raised the issue of the unconstitutionality or otherwise of keeping the Excess Crude Account or the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) when there exists the CFA into which all monies accruing to the Federal Government must go before being distributed to various states and local councils.
Meanwhile, the president, who also met with members of the Northern Traditional Rulers Council led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Mohammed Sa’ad Abubakar III, told them that it was now up to Nigeria to provide the international community with the facts and figures needed to drive the recovery effort. It was gathered that the Sultan had earlier told the President that as custodians of tradition and stakeholders in the Nigerian project, the traditional rulers had a responsibility to always advise political leaders on the path of truth and justice.
However, there seems to be a breath of relief over the financial crisis rocking the country as the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) yesterday reported an increase of N42 billion in the revenue collected in the month of May compared with the previous April’s figure.
The committee reported a net distributable revenue of N418.452 billion up from the April’s N388.339 billion. This was as a result of the increase in the volume of crude oil sales which improved to N225.167 billion from N180.470 billion the previous month and foreign gain which yielded to the coffers of the Federation the sum of N31.240 billion. Also, the Naira/Dollar exchange rate for 2015 budget was predicated at N160 to a dollar, the prevailing rate is now N194 to a dollar.
The current financial crisis rocking the country can’t be distance from the corruption and rottenness in Nigeria’s oil sector, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo state has said. DAILY SUN reports that the governor made it known on Tuesday, June 23, during a visit to The Sun publishing office in Abuja. He said the reason former president Goodluck Jonathan performed abysmally was because of his lack of readiness for governance, adding that, those he appointed into office took charge in his place because of that.
Despite the cash crisis in the country, it seems the All Progressive Congress senators have considered their personal ambition as the crux of this administration as they have refused to let peace reign in the respected law making chambers of the federation. THE PUNCH reports that an argument between two APC Senators, Kabiru Marafa and Tayo Alasoadura, degenerated into a physical combat on Tuesday, June 23, during a last minute attempt by the party’s caucus in the Senate to select the principal officers. The meeting of the caucus, which was convened in Abuja by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to unite members of his group, the Like Minds Senators and those loyal to Senator Ahmad Lawan, the Senate Unity Forum ended in a stalemate.
Trouble started at the meeting which was aimed at arriving at a common position on the selection of principal officers after Saraki had delivered his speech and urged his colleagues to dissolve into zonal caucuses to produce their representatives for the posts of Senate Leader, the Deputy Senate Leader, the Chief Whip and the Deputy Whip. Saraki’s call for members to dissolve into zonal caucuses reportedly angered Senator Suleiman Hunkunyi, who disagreed openly with Saraki on the issue, insisting they should ratify the names sent to Saraki by the APC leadership on Tuesday.
Hunkunyi said the party had forwarded a letter which recommended Senator Ahmad Lawan as Senate Leader; George Akume as deputy leader; Olusola Adeyeye as Chief Whip; and Abu Ibrahim as deputy whip. The action of the Kaduna State-born senator infuriated some of his colleagues in the Saraki camp, who disagreed with the list allegedly, sent by John Odigie-Oyegun, the party’s chairman, insisting that the Senate caucuses would choose their representatives. During the argument, Tayo Alasoadura, an APC senator faulted the choice of Adeyeye and asked why APC did not choose Senator Ajayi Boroffice, whom he said, is also qualified for the position.
It was at that stage that Marafa, who felt that the Like Minds senators were trying to scuttle the party’s position, reacted angrily to the opinion expressed by Alasoadura, he reportedly pushed Alasoadura. It took the intervention of Senator Rafiu Ibrahim and others to prevent Marafa and Alasoadura from further fighting each other. Both Marafa and Alasoadura could not be reached for their comments but Ibrahim, who was one of the senators that settled the quarrel, confirmed that the altercation was fallout of the disagreement during the meeting. He said the matter has been amicably resolved.