The 16 local government chairmen in Ekiti State has sued the Attorney General of the Federation and governors of the 36 states, and are seeking an order restraining the aforementioned from giving effect to the appropriation of the sum.
This seems like a reactive outcome of the current controversy on the Federal Government’s plan to spend $1 billion to combat terrorism in the country.
In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1264/17, the Ekiti council chairmen asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to declare that the approval of the sum by the governors to purportedly execute the constitutional duty of the Federal Government, which has been sufficiently funded from the Federation Account, without their consent, was ultra vires, unlawful, null and void.
The suit, which was filed yesterday at the registry of the court by counsel to the plaintiffs, Ola Olanikpekun (SAN), also listed the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission as a defendant.
The chairmen are: Deji Ogunsakin (Ado LGA); Bola Alonge (Ikere LGA); Lanrewaju Omolase (Ekiti South West LGA); Dapo Olagunju (Irepodun/Ifelodun LGA); Samuel Adeniyi (Ekiti East LGA); Olumide Falade (Ise/Orun LGA); Sade Akinrinmola (Gbonyin LGA); Tayo Ogundare (Oye LGA); Chief Ayodeji Arogbodo (Ido/Osi LGA) and Taiwo Oguntuase (Emure LGA). Others are: Kolawole Omotunde (Ekiti West LGA); Bolaji Jeje (Efon LGA); Adesola Adeyanju (Ikole LGA); Ganiyu Bakare (Ilejemele LGA); Adeniyi Adebayo (Moba LGA) and Abiodun Dada (Ijero LGA).
Also, Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike and his Ekiti counterpart Ayodele Fayose has joined in the controversy to demand their states’ share of the money yesterday.
Following a meeting of the National Executive Council last week, state governors had given the administration the nod to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to prosecute the campaign against insurgency.
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike, yesterday, said that more than anywhere else, the Niger Delta deserves a share of the money to tackle decades of environmental terrorism unleashed by exploitation. He stressed there would not have been excess crude funds without the contributions of oil-producing communities in the region.
“There should be balance in the way the Federal Government handles issues affecting different parts of the country. We are not saying that the Federal Government should not tackle Boko Haram. But as they tackle Boko Haram with $1 billion, they must remember that the environmental challenge facing the Niger Delta is the major security challenge. If something happens or there is a crisis in the Niger Delta, there will be no excess crude for anyone to draw from,” he said.
The governor noted that issues of development and security must be devoid of politicization, because political parties are mere vehicles conveying people to desired destinations.
“This country belongs to all of us. We must work to salvage Nigeria. We shall always talk about the interest of Nigeria,” Wike told members of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Local Content when they paid him a courtesy visit in Port Harcourt.
On his part, Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose said: “Nigerians deserve proper explanations from the Federal Government on the rationale behind spending such a huge sum of money to fight an already defeated Boko Haram.”
In a tweet, the governor notes: “Just read FG’s new position on the $1bn (N367bn) ECA fund that it is not only to fight Boko Haram but for security issues in all the states.”
He adds: “Most importantly, Ekiti wants its own share,” saying there was the need for the government to detail “who is getting what and for what reason.”
Also, at a meeting in Abuja yesterday between the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) and Speakers of state Houses of Assembly, Fayose explained that although the issue of the ECA withdrawal has generated interest from Nigerians, “I did not feature at the meeting of the NGF on Tuesday. I’m not in support of $1 billion and will never be in support. In my state we have agreed to go to court to contest this. It is our legitimate right. All accruals to the federation must be shared by the three tiers of government. And for me to get justice, I have to go to court.”
According to him, “Every state has its own peculiarities in terms of security. Ekiti State has Hunger Haram where hunger is catching people everywhere. A lot of people are being kidnapped daily. Whatever is in that money for me, we should share it. Let everybody go and solve his own problem. I have challenges and they should give me my money. It is Ekiti’s money.”
The Chairman of the NGF and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdul’aziz Yari, who was also at the meeting, said Fayose was free under a democracy to disagree on the issue. He, however, explained that 32 of the 36 governors actually approved the deal.