How $1bn Insurgency Fund Divided Reps
One again, the request for $1 billion to tackle insecurity in Nigeria has caused disagreement between members of the House of Representatives.
When the issue was raised at plenary of the House of Representatives on Thursday it whipped up the political divide that the House had subdued for some time.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had requested for approval to draw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account and most Governors gave their approval.
But a member of the House of Representatives, Ken Chikere, a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, touched the lion’s tail when he raised a motion on the “Need to deduct 13 per cent Derivation from the one billion dollars approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) to fight Boko Haram Insurgency”.
Moving the motion, Chikere said that if 13% derivation was not deducted from the one billion dollars and paid to oil-producing states, it would amount to double contribution by the states.
He added that it would also be a breach of section 16 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 1 of the Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, etc) Act, Cap.A15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014.
“At the 83rd meeting of NEC held in the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on December 14, 2017, the 36 states’ governors approved the deduction of one billion dollars by Federal Government from Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight Boko Haram.
“The proviso to Section 162 of 1999 Constitution states that 13% of proceeds of oil-producing states as derivation funds payable to benefiting states of Akwa-Ibom, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Abia, Imo, Ondo, Anambra and Lagos.
“That 13% derivation fund payable to oil-producing states had not been deducted and paid to them from the one billion dollars before or after the approval of the said sum to fight Boko Haram insurgency.
“Concerned that if the 13% derivation fund is not deducted from the one billion dollars and paid to oil-producing states, it would amount to double contribution from the said states.
“It will also a breach of section 16 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 1 of the Allocation of Revenue (Federation Account, etc) Act, Cap.A15, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2014,” Chikere said.
But Shehu Garba from Kaduna All Progressives Congress, opposed the motion, saying that the fight against Boko Haram insurgency should be seen as a national challenge than a sectional issue.
He believes debating the issue would open up “a Pandora box” that may apparently heat up the polity.
Other lawmakers spoke on the issue and one of them is Aliyu Patigi, who is also a member of APC from Kwara.
He said that the issue at stake is purely mathematical.
“It is an accounting issue. It is an issue that relates to the Federation Account.”
In his contribution, the Deputy Speaker, Yussuf Lasun, said it is necessary to understand the difference between the Federation and Consolidated Accounts before deliberating on the matter.