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Palliative palaver: Govs tackle Akpabio, deny receiving FG N1tn lifeline


AkpabioGovernors on Thursday denied a claim by Senate President Godswill Akpabio that the Federal Government disbursed N1.08tn to states to address the food crisis in the country.

During the inauguration of the renovated central mosque in the Iseyin area of Oyo State on Thursday, the state Governor, Seyi Makinde, said as the Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, he could attest to the fact that state governors did not receive N30bn each as claimed by the Senate President.

Also, officials of Lagos, Zamfara, Benue, Osun, Katsina, and Enugu states told The PUNCH on Thursday that their state governments did not receive N30bn.

State governments had in September 2023 received N2bn each out of the N5bn loan offered to them by the Federal Government as a palliative to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.

The economic reforms, including the subsidy removal implemented by the Federal Government, had precipitated a cost of living crisis across the country following higher transport costs, food inflation, and the plummeting value of the naira.

Speaking during the plenary on Tuesday, Akpabio said an unconfirmed report indicated that state governors received N30bn each from the Federation Account to ameliorate inflation and the high cost of food in their respective states.

“I must say that unverified report has it that each of the state governments in the last few months has received additional N30bn from Federal Inland Revenue Service outside their normal allocations from the Federation Account to assist them in ameliorating the food situation,” he reportedly said.

Akpabio challenges govs

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

“We believe 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 the ground,” Akpabio added.

However, the Vice-Chairman of the NGF, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, at Iseyin, denied receiving N30bn from the central government.

Speaking on behalf of other governors, Makinde, wondered why the President of the Senate would rely on an unconfirmed report.

Makinde said he could speak for himself and other state governors said no such money was disbursed to any state.

According to him, the FIRS could not give such funds to any state, adding that all revenues go directly into the federation account, where allocations will be given to all the tiers of government.

Makinde tackles Akpabio

Makinde said, “I can speak for Oyo State, and I can also speak for any of my colleagues because I am the Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum. I know when things happen. And if we want to play politics, we will keep quiet and say, let it slide, but we are not going to let this slide.

“First, the FIRS cannot give any money to any state; it is not possible. All revenues accruing to our country go into the federation account, and the money is distributed to all the tiers of government. The Federal Government does not give money to the state; the money in the federation account belongs to all of us, and it is not only to the Federal Government.

“We need to engage with our people; if our policies are not working, we need to listen to them and amend them. If the number three citizen says this is an unverified report, why does he need to say it? Does that give confidence to our people, or does it solve the problem of hunger and anger in our land?’’

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