Posted by News Express | 9 June 2015 | 5,623 times
A call has gone to the Director General of the Federal Budget Office and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation to probe what governors of the three North-East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa did with the monthly allocations of local government councils during the period that Boko Haram terrorists controlled some local government areas for over half a year in the three states.
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) made the call yesterday in Abuja. It disclosed that it has set up a team to meet the incoming Minister of Finance and the relevant committees of the National Assembly to mount pressure for comprehensive reports on the budgetary releases meant for the affected local government areas during the period that Boko Haram captured and occupied them for almost seven months.
In a statement jointly authorised by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA affirmed thus: “Till the end of January 2015 nine local governments in Borno State were under full Boko Haram occupation. They are Gwoza, Bama, Mafa, Dikwa, Kala-Balge, Ngala, Marte, Abadam and Mobbar. The other four are Michika and Madagali in Adamawa State as well as Gujba and Gulani in Yobe State.”
“The insurgents had prior to their eventual dislodgment by the Nigerian military also established partial control in parts of some local government areas in Borno, comprising Mungono, Kukawa, Guzamala, Gubio, Magumeri, Damboa, konduga, Chibok, Askira Uba and Jere,” the rights group added.
HURIWA said it is a well known fact that during the period of occupation by the terrorists the entire administrative structures of those local councils were in disarray. It insisted that it is imperative to ask relevant questions to ascertain where those allocations for the local government areas went to. “Did these state governors share these allocations to the Boko Haram administrators or what?” HURIWA asked.
It cited section 162 subsections (6) and (7) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999 (As Amended) to demand that “the relevant Federal Agencies, including the National Assembly, should and must activate transparent and fully accountable mechanisms to determine the whereabouts of the specific allocations meant for the above mentioned local government area councils in the three North Eastern States of Nigeria, particularly when the terrorists overthrew the democratic structures and illegally occupied the territories and chased away the rightful inhabitants of these local area councils for the long period they violently controlled the local area councils.”
HURIWA said “the state governments ought to have reserved the specific allocations meant for these councils pending their eventual liberation given that the hundreds of thousands of indigenous people displaced by the insurgency who are returning now that the Nigerian State has restored a semblance of Federal presence would be in severe need of state governments’ interventions from their due and constitutionally valid allocations from the Federation Accounts of Nigeria which were actually paid out to these respective state administrations by the Federal Ministry of Finance.”
The rights group reminded the three North-East states that the Nigerian Constitution in Section 162 subsections (6) and (7) states thus: “Each State shall maintain a special account to be called “State Joint Local Government Account” into which shall be paid all allocations to the local government councils of the State from the Federation Account and from the Government of the State.”
“Each State shall pay to local government councils in its area of jurisdiction such proportion of its total revenue on such terms and in such manner as may be prescribed by the National Assembly.”
HURIWA said the continuous silence of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the defunct seventh session of the National Assembly has made it imperative that the incoming National Assembly and the soon to be constituted Executive Council of the federation to demand unambiguous accounts of the management or mismanagement of the funds in question.
•Photo shows Accountant-General of the Federation, Jonah Otunla.
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