Port Harcourt — Fourteen state governors in the country have unanimously berated the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, over the recent failure to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account.
The governors, under the aegis of PDP Governors Forum, at a meeting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital, examined the operations of the NNPC, and expressed alarm at what they described as “opaque manner the corporation carries out its operations.”
Leader of the Forum and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who read the communique from the meeting, said the federating states going forward, should have a say in the determination of operating costs of NNPC and other revenue generating agencies, to ensure transparency and accountability.
Tambuwal emphasised that under the Constitution, NNPC is duty bound to make proceeds of sale or business of petroleum available to the Federation Account which belongs to the three tiers of government, excluding reasonable and verified and verifiable cost of operations.
“NNPCs recent decision not to make its statutory contributions to the Federation Account, thereby starving the States and Local Governments and indeed Nigerians of funds needed for employment, development and general wellbeing, is regrettable.
“The Federal government through NNPC is a manager of our oil wealth merely as a trustee for all Nigerians.
“We frowned at a situation where the NNPC decides in a totally discretionary and often whimsical manner, how much to spend, how to spend it and how much to remit to the Federation Account, contrary to the letters and even the spirit of the 1999 Constitution.”
The meeting called on other revenue generating agencies of Government such as NPA, NIMASA, NCC, FIRS, Nigerian Customs and Excise, among others, that are statutorily required to make contributions into the Federation Account, to do more.
The governors also frowned at the operational system and methods of the Central Bank of Nigeria, describing it as a father Christmas, who dabbles into every sphere of governmental activity, not just as a lender, but as a full executing agency of government.
“CBN has become such an octopus that it threatens State governments publicly, without decorum, about sanctions on any attempt to question its modus operandi. The CBN should take immediate steps to halt the depreciation of the Naira.”
The governors further called for more involvement of States in mining and geophysical activities within their States.
“This is necessary not just to curtail harm to the environment but to further diversify the Nigerian economy and complement oil as a foreign exchange earner for Nigeria,” the 14 governors said.