The controversy on the Federal Government’s plan to spend $1 billion to combat terrorism in the country
was heavily critisized yesterday as Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his Ekiti counterpart Ayodele Fayose demanded their states’ share of the money.
16 local government chairmen in Ekiti State sued the Attorney General of the Federation and governors of the 36 states.
Following a meeting of the National Executive Council last week, state governors gave the administration the nod to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight insurgency.
Wike told members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Local Content when they paid him a courtesy visit in Port Harcourt yesterday that more than anywhere else, the Niger Delta deserves a share of the money to tackle decades of environmental terrorism unleashed by exploitation.
He stressed there would not have been excess crude funds without the contributions of oil-producing communities in the region.
There should be balance in the way the Federal Government handles issues affecting different parts of the country. We are not saying that the Federal Government should not tackle Boko Haram. But as they tackle Boko Haram with $1 billion, they must remember that the environmental challenge facing the Niger Delta is the major security challenge.
If something happens or there is a crisis in the Niger Delta, there will be no excess crude for anyone to draw from.
This country belongs to all of us. We must work to salvage Nigeria. We shall always talk about the interest of Nigeria
Wike’s view was also shared by the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP).
Legborsi Pyagbara, MOSOP president said it was disheartening that the government wants to spend $1 billion from the ECA to fight physical terrorism, while ignoring environmental problems in the Niger Delta.
He said the directive that the National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) should remit $100 million yearly to the North East Development Commission is saddening.
Fayose on his part said:
Nigerians deserve proper explanations from the Federal Government on the rationale behind spending such a huge sum of money to fight an already defeated Boko Haram.
In a tweet, the governor notes: “Just read FG’s new position on the $1bn (N367bn) ECA fund that it is not only to fight Boko Haram but for security issues in all the states.”
“Most importantly, Ekiti wants its own share,” saying there was the need for the government to detail “who is getting what and for what reason.”
Fayose said “I did not feature at the meeting of the NGF on Tuesday. I’m not in support of $1 billion and will never be in support. In my state we have agreed to go to court to contest this. It is our legitimate right. All accruals to the federation must be shared by the three tiers of government. And for me to get justice, I have to go to court.”
“Every state has its own peculiarities in terms of security. Ekiti State has Hunger Haram where hunger is catching people everywhere. A lot of people are being kidnapped daily''
In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1264/17, the Ekiti council chairmen asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to declare that the approval of the sum by the governors as unlawful, null and void.
The suit, which was filed yesterday at the registry of the court by counsel to the plaintiffs, Ola Olanikpekun (SAN), also listed the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission as a defendant.
The chairmen are: Deji Ogunsakin (Ado LGA); Bola Alonge (Ikere LGA); Lanrewaju Omolase (Ekiti South West LGA); Dapo Olagunju (Irepodun/Ifelodun LGA); Samuel Adeniyi (Ekiti East LGA); Olumide Falade (Ise/ Orun LGA); Sade Akinrinmola (Gbonyin LGA); Tayo Ogundare (Oye LGA); Chief Ayodeji Arogbodo (Ido/Osi LGA) and Taiwo Oguntuase (Emure LGA); Kolawole Omotunde (Ekiti West LGA); Bolaji Jeje (Efon LGA); Adesola Adeyanju (Ikole LGA); Ganiyu Bakare (Ilejemele LGA); Adeniyi Adebayo (Moba LGA) and Abiodun Dada (Ijero LGA).