Govs demand $1bn from excess crude to settle contractors


… FG agrees to reimburse states in 2013 on rehabilitated roads


States governors yesterday demanded $1 billion from the excess crude account to enable them settle contractors of various projects in their states. This was even as the Federal Government had agreed to reimburse all states for the roads constructed or rehabilitated in 2013, having concluded verification and harmonisation of claims.

Addressing State House correspondents at the end of the last National Economic Council (NEC) for the year chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Dankwambo alongside his colleagues Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Martins Elechi of Ebonyi and Deputy Governor of Sokoto states, Muktari Shagari, disclosed that N881 billion had been paid for subsidy claims while N100 billion was still needed for settlement. On the demand of $1 billion by state governors, Shagari said, the money was important because state governments had completed projects that were useful to the people and the contractors would be paid to prevent them from abandoning the projects.

On the excess crude account, he said council was briefed on the state of negotiations between Federal Government and states on the status and it was advised that negotiation should continue pending the court decision on the matter. Shagari, however said: “We agreed to allow the case in court to continue so that we will know at the end of the day how the excess crude will be shared. There is no disagreement between the states and the Federal Government but we are only trying to ensure that the right thing is done, that due process is followed.” On state of federal roads and rehabilitation, Fayemi said council assured that states would be paid all works done on federal roads by the Federal Ministry of Works.

He said council reassured that verification had been completed and would be presented to council early next year to enable the funds to be released to states. On borrowing plan, Fayemi said state commissioners were to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Finance on the guidelines and borrowing facilities. “Council confirmed that there was need for harmonisation with FMF, governors or representives are to make themselves available to the committees at the National Assembly to harmonize the figures on external debts. On establishment of security outfits in the states, he said the National Security Adviser (NSA), briefed council on the establishment of security outfits in the states as part of measures of improving security in the country.

He said issues such as establishment of vigilance group, provision of grazing land and abuse of siren were also discussed. He said all state vigilance groups should follow Federal Government guidelines. Fayemi also said it was resolve that the office of NSA should collaborate with states and expedite action as regards the use of siren, that states should submit preliminary action on grazing land and that security agencies should ensure procurement of tracking equipment to support operation. Council resolved that states should provide grazing land to forestall continued clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

After discussion on the abuse of siren, it was resolved that only those authorized should use sirens. henceforth and no man should drive around with number plates not identified. He said both the governors and NSA agreed that this was one issue that would be taken seriously. On building of a national broadband and ICT infrastructure, Shagari said the Minister of Communication Technology presented a paper to the council on building a national broadband and ICT Infrastructure in Nigeria. “ Council resolved to set up a committee to look into it and report during the second NEC meeting in 2013.”

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