Vice President Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) has thrown his weight behind the controversial approval of $1 billion from Excess Crude Account said to have been voted by the National Economic Council for the purpose of fighting insurgency and other related security challenges in the North East.
Speaking at a retreat of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) with the Secretaries to the State Governments, held in Aso Villa, Abuja, Osinbajo’s differed with some governors of the opposition parties and some public affairs analysts who had accused the rulling party of subtly mopping up funds illegally in preparation for the 2019 election election.
The Vice President said that the decision to set aside $1bn to fight Boko Haram in North East and other related security challenges in other parts of the country was not the rulling party’ sole decision, but a result of the National Economic Council ( NEC) thorough deliberation.
According to him, the Governors Forum, a platform for leaders across party lines endorsed the decision to vote certain amount from the Excess Crude Account to tackle security issues in the country.
He said, “Barely two months ago NEC hosted a security summit that was crucial in understating and dimensioning the security problems and architecture of the country. We examined the issue of kidnapping, small arms trafficking, terrorists activities or Boko Haram in Northeast, the problems of farmers clashes and cattle rustling.
” Several initiatives were approved and one of the key points worth mentioning was that it was on the account of the security summit that the Governors, at governors Forum decided that they will vote a certain sum of money from the excess crude account, and that have become some how controversial.
” The $ 1bn was to assist the security architecture of the country, including community policing, and all the security challenges in the country, and this was done across party lines”, he said.
Osinbajo also harped on the need for collaboration amongst the three tiers of government.
The Vice President told the Secretaries to State Governments that “providence has found us worthy to serve the country and we must give our best at all times.”
In his earlier remarks, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said that the retreat was for the purpose highlighting the principles of federalism and strengthening separation of powers between tiers of government.
Mustapha explained that the theme “Strengthening Inter-Governmental Relations for Good Governance and National Security”, couldn’t have come at a better time than now that there are emerging challenges in the country’s national life.
He stressed that the situation requires synergy and scrutiny in proffering solutions for the sustainability of the country’s nascent democratic experience.
The SGF said that on assumption of officer he saw the need to resuscitate the forum as a platform for Secretaries to come together and rub minds on how best the federal system of government can be better positioned for growth and development.
“This retreat has been organised to offer a platform for Secretaries to come together and rub minds on how best the federal system of government which we practice, can be better positioned for growth and development.
This retreat is aimed at creating a forum where we can better achieve that balance that allows for full effective and efficient function of the state structure for the good of l.”
Also speaking at the retreat, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara who was represented by the Chief Whip, said emphasized on separation of powers between states and local governments in the country saying that the National Assembly would exploit its legislative powers to ensure grant autonomy to local government.
He called on state governments in the federation to allow the local government to exercise their constitutional functions stop making the councils their cash caws.
Mathew Dadiya, Abuja