29 November 2013, Abuja – Dr. Christopher Kolade on Thursday dismissed reports linking his resignation as Chairman of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme with the alleged missing N500bn SURE-P funds.
The News Agency of Nigeria reported that Kolade told newsmen in Abuja that his resignation was rather on age grounds.
He said that he had explained in his letter of resignation sent to President Goodluck Jonathan, that having attained the age of 80, he wanted to slow down all energy-demanding activities.
“I explained in the letter that having done this SURE-P programme for two years and because within the next month I would be clocking 81, I am giving up some activities that take my energy.
“The letter I wrote was sent on the 26 of September long before the rumour of the missing fund started, so there is no connection between the two,” he said.
Kolade said that it was unfortunate that some media houses did not do enough investigation on the alleged missing N500bn before going to the press.
“To write an editorial based on rumour (because they refused to get the truth before writing) is a waste of energy and a betrayal of trust.
“The media has the responsibility of informing the public and they (it) must do so with facts,’’ Kolade said.
He explained that the SURE-P committee was responsible for managing, on behalf of the Federal Government, only 41 per cent of funds accruing from the subsidy removal.
According to him, out of the remaining 59 per cent, 54 per cent goes to the states and local governments while the remaining 5 per cent is allocated to the Ecological Fund.
He said, “The group that started this rumour said that this committee appeared before the National Assembly and only accounted for N300bn out of the N800bn that is the totality of the money.
“So, if the committee accounted for N300bn, in order words, we have accounted for our 41 per cent. So, is the remaining N500bn really unaccounted for?”
“The answer is ‘no’ because we know that the 59 per cent goes to states, local governments and the Ecological Fund and this does not show that the fund is missing.
“It just shows that the persons who said the fund is missing is deliberately ignorant of the fact of the case.
“I say so because the Federal Minister of Finance published the breakdown of the amount of money that goes to each area.”
Kolade, therefore, urged the media to verify their facts before reporting and not to heat up polity by giving members of the public the impression.
– The Punch