Sun, Sep

Paris Club Refund: Why Governors Won’t Challenge EFCC

There are indications that the governors of the 36 states of the federation under the auspices of the Nigerian Governors Forum( NGF) have no plans whatsoever to take on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over the Paris Club refund probe. According to them , challenging the EFCC is tantamount to challenging President Muhammadu Buhari that made it possible for them to get the funds. A reliable source in the NGF said contrary to reports that governors called on the federal government to call the acting chairman of the EFCC Ibrahim Magu to order over unwarranted attacks on them, the state chief executives are only working towards defending themselves if the matter degenerates to a legal action between them and the anti- graft agency.

LEADERSHIP recalls that the Federal Government released N388.304billion of the N522.74 billion funds to 35 states as refunds of over deductions on London-Paris Club loans. Recall that reports emerged last week that the NGF may have used fictitious consultants to divert some of the money from Paris Club which had attracted the attention of the EFCC. Consequently, the Presidency has ordered a full scale investigation into the disbursement of the funds. But answering questions from State House correspondents after the NGF meeting last Wednesday night , Chairman of the NGF and Zamfara State governor, AbdulazizYari, said the governors were ready for the EFCC probe. Also according to media reports, seven governors have questions to answer in the alleged diversion of part of the N388.304billion London-Paris Club refunds into two accounts opened by the Nigeria Governors Forum as the EFCC has uncovered N19billion in one of the accounts. The other is a domiciliary account, which contains a yet unspecified amount of money. The source also debunked insinuations that the governors threatened the EFCC.The source said, “How can the governors threaten to go to war whenPresident Muhammadu Buhari personally intervened for this money to be released to governors shortly before Christmas last year. “It was because of the closeness of the NGF chairman, to the President who prevailed on the President to approve the release of the funds in view of the comatose economy to reflate the economy as the funds have been on hold since 2003. “ “The reports is false, in fact it was the governors that demanded that the percentage for the consultants be reduced as according to the one of the governors from the north west, if you pay a consultant 30 per cent of the refunds then they will have enough money to contest against them. Many consultants have tried to get the government to release the money all to no avail. “Remember what Mimiko said last week about the federal government being a behemoth. “ The source recalled that last week Mimiko in his valedictory speech to governors said any governor is deceiving himself if he thinks he is at the same level of authority with the Federal Government. According to Mimiko “The Federal Government of Nigeria is a behemoth. It is too powerful relative to the state.

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