Reps Divided Over Buhari’s $1bn Request

Reps Divided Over Buhari’s $1bn Request

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Added by February 2, 2018

Thursday’s plenary session of the House of Representatives was a rowdy session as lawmakers argued back and forth over the propriety of the $1bn sought by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The president had requested the money to aid the fight against Boko Haram in the North East of the country.

The uproar started when Hon. Ken Chikere (PDP-Rivers) moved a motion on the “Need to deduct 13 percent derivation from the one billion dollars approved by the National Economic Council (NEC) to fight Boko Haram insurgency”.

Chikere argued that if the derivation percentage is not deducted from the $1bn 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 Dec. 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 per cent 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 per cent 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 per cent 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.

He urged Federal Ministry of Finance to ensure that amount representing 13 per cent of one billion dollars approved by NEC to fight Boko Haram is deducted and paid to oil-producing states.

He said that the payment would be in compliance with Section 16 (2) of the 1999 Constitution.

He added that “the amount involved is arguably a large sum of money but no sum of money is too large for security. I urge us to show resolve by supporting this motion’’.

His motion was immediately opposed by Hon. Shehu Garba (APC-Kaduna)who said the campaign against Boko Haram is a national, and not sectional, issue.

He said, “We do understand the reason behind this motion. However, I do have a different perspective. The basic question is whether Boko Haram is a regional challenge or national challenge.

“We must accept that just as you as a person will not have a good night sleep when you have pain.

“You must accept that any challenge in any part of Nigeria is a challenge for everyone. Boko Haram challenge is a national challenge.

“The challenge requires the collective will of all Nigerians. On this note, I disagree with this motion. It will be opening a Pandora box.”

Hon. Henry Archibong (Akwa Ibom-PDP) raised a point of order asking if the money has been approved by the National Assembly.

He sought to know whether the money had been approved by the National Assembly

To close the issue, the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, reminded the lawmakers that the entirety of the money coming from the ECA had been approved by the State Houses of Assembly, allowing their respective governors to give consent to the request.

He wondered aloud whether the National Assembly had any significant input in the matter.

He, thereafter, asked the House committee on finance to ascertain the state of the Excess Crude Account.

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