Home Politics Governors receive N30bn each to reduce hardships – Akpabio

Governors receive N30bn each to reduce hardships – Akpabio

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Mr Akpabio said protests over hardship in the country are being sponsored by persons whom he did not name.

By Abdulqudus Ogundapo

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, said an “unverified report” indicated that state governors received N30 billion each from the Federation Account to ameliorate inflation and the high cost of food in their respective states.

Last September, the federal government said N2 billion was released to governors out of the N5 billion loan it offered to each state as a palliative to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.

During the plenary on Tuesday, Mr Akpabio said information available to him indicates that apart from the first tranche of funds given to the governors, an additional N30 billion was also to them through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

News Headline as captured by Premium Times

“I must say that unverified report has it that each of the state governments in the last few months has received additional N30 billion from Federal Inland Revenue Service outside their normal allocations from the Federation Account to assist them in ameliorating the food situation,” he said.

The senate president advised the governors to utilise the funds judiciously to reduce the high cost of food items and other challenges facing the country.

“We believed that every state government should utilise the funds received towards ensuring that food is available in the country.

“So, the state governments have a lot to do. They are closer to the people and I do not want to mention local government because most of the local governments are controlled by the state governors.

“My belief is that if the state government does what is needed, then the local government will be involved in sharing to make sure that these things get to the people. But we must not overlook the fact that Nigerians are not going to be interested in stories.

Nigerians want to see action. Nigerians want to eat and we will provide food for them, there is no excuse. Despite what we met on ground” Mr Akpabio added.

Sponsored hardship protest

Mr Akpabio also referenced protests staged against the high cost of food items and the cost of living in different parts of the country.

On Tuesday, residents of Ibadan protested the high prices of food and other commodities.

Two weeks ago, residents of Minna, Niger State, trooped out in large numbers to protest the rising cost of living.

Last Monday, residents of Sokoto also protested the high cost of living in the country, calling on the government to find a lasting solution.

But, the senate president claimed that many of the protests were sponsored by some group of people against the federal government.

He said the protesters and their sponsors failed to recognise efforts made by the Senate and the federal government to fight inflation in the country.

“The situation is revolving daily. You can see a lot of protests here and there but those people are not aware. Most of those sponsored protests are not aware of the kind of efforts being made by this Senate to tackle the situation together with the joint management team of the Federation Government of Nigeria.

“There is no father that will want to see his child sleep in the night without food with the stomach grumbling, so we must provide. That is why I said we must not limit our discussion to – we will not import food, wherever we can find food to put on the table of Nigerians, we shall do so”.

Mr Akpabio explained that the worsening state of the economy was caused by COVID-19, insecurity and the N30 trillion Ways and Means advancement obtained by the Muhammadu Buhari administration from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“It is an uncommon situation which has been execrated by many factors, from COVID-19 to insecurity to inflation, to even the ways and means of N30 trillion that put so much pressure on the Central Bank of Nigeria and left a very big gap in the financial situation such that if this government inherited this situation it tried to feel the gap. It means that people will not eat, salaries will not be paid, and nothing will be done until the gap is filled. We have taken it and we must move on,” he said.

UK, US also grappling with bad economy

In his contribution, the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, noted that the high cost of living and worsening economic situation are not peculiar to Nigeria.

Mr Jibrin said other developed countries like the United Kingdom and the United States of America are also grappling with bad economic situations.

“What is happening presently in Nigeria is not something that is happening in isolation. It is not only Nigeria that is facing this economic challenge. It is something that has an international dimension.

“The world economy is not in its best shape as we speak. As we speak, the United Kingdom’s economy is in recession. They are in recession as we speak. The price of goods and commodities in the whole world has risen everywhere, in the U.S. name it. So, it is not peculiar to Nigeria.

“The Russia-Ukraine war and the Middle East crisis have created a situation where prices of goods and commodities all over the world have gone up. So what is left for us here is to look at our own problems and try to summon these problems and that is exactly what we are doing. We should stop thinking that it is only Nigeria, No” he added.

The deputy senate president said the federal government is doing its best to resolve the worsening situation of the economy.

Yes, we are facing challenges occasioned by what is happening internationally. We have to look at the problems and how we deal with the problems and this is exactly what we are doing.

“Of course, our security situation is not what we want it to be. We understand that the CinC (Commander-in-Chief) is doing his best in collaboration with service chiefs and other security agencies. They are doing their best.

“The government is doing its best, the president is doing his best. What we need to do is to have everybody coming together, a full collaboration of everyone” he said.

Mr Barau also called on state governors to support the federal government in resolving the challenges facing the country.

“The state governments should come on board. Let us not leave everything on the shoulders of the federal government alone. They should come on board. When we were talking about fuel subsidy, we removed it and the state governments are having more money now. They are getting a lot of money. So let them bring what they are getting to collaborate with the federal government to deal with this problem.

“But particularly, issues of commodities. Buy them and give out to the poor. The president has directed that food should be released from the statutory reserve of the federal government. Now we want the state government to also make the same pronouncement. Let them also come with their own money. Let the local government also come along.

“Here, we have seen what the senators are doing. A lot of grains are distributed to their constituencies so also members of the House of Representatives. I am distributing about two hundred thousand grains to two hundred households. Let us hear what the state government will do, let us hear what the local government will do, let us not leave all the problems on the shoulder of the federal government,” Mr Jibrin said.

…culled from Premium Times

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