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FG probes Jonathan over ecological fund

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The Federal Government will investigate the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan over alleged unequal disbursement of N2 billion Ecological Fund to states.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo disclosed this at the Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday while presiding over the National Economic Council meeting.

The Ecological Fund is the Federal Government’s intervention facility established to address the multifarious ecological problems ravaging communities across the country.

The Fund was originally established in 1981 through the Federation Account Act (1981) based on the recommendation of the Okigbo Commission. The Act has subsequently been modified by Decrees 36 of 1984 and 106 of 1992; and further modified through the Allocation of Revenue/Federation Account etc (modification) order of 8th July 2002. The Fund which originally received 1% of the Federation Account was reviewed upwards.
Some governors yesterday complained to the NEC that Jonathan’s administration disbursed N2 billion Ecological Fund each to some states “under unclear circumstances and criteria.”

The governors were said to have expressed concerns that under the administration of Jonathan, state governments did not have equal access to the Ecological Fund. They said the Jonathan government disbursed ecological funds to state governments to promote political preferences.
While some governors complained that their states did not have equal share of the fund, others said theirs did not get anything at all.

The vice president therefore assured the NEC that the issue would be properly investigated and broadly reviewed, adding that “forthright counsel” would also be made to the President regarding the matter.
The governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of the council meeting, stated: “Of the Ecological Fund, N2 billion was said to have been paid to the states by the last administration.

“However, some states did complain that they did not have equal share of the money or even anything at all. The reason why that occurred will be investigated and a report will be made available to the president.”
Our correspondent reports that former governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, had on April 28, 2016 accused former President Jonathan of doling out N2bn from the Ecological Fund to each of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, without giving same to governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Oshiomhole made the allegation then while addressing State House reporters after a meeting state governors had with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The state governors at that time had approached President Buhari on the need for the Federal Government to assist state governments to cushion the effects of the economic downturn.
FG stops sharing of Excess Crude Account

The Federal Government has told the state governors to stop contemplating sharing proceeds from the Excess Crude Account (ECA), Daily Trust has learnt.

This is just as Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun told the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting yesterday that the balance of the Excess Crude Account stood at $2.4 billion as of November 2016.
A top government official told our correspondent that the NEC had, therefore, resolved that the proceeds would no longer be shared.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the NEC arrived at the resolution during a meeting held earlier this year.

According to the official, the NEC has agreed that the proceeds from the Excess Crude Account should be used to shore up the country’s foreign reserve.

The Excess Crude Account rose from $5.1 billion in 2005 to $20 billion in November 2008. It however dropped to around $4 billion in June 2010.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan had in June this year told the Bloomberg TV that he was pressured by state governors to deplete the excess crude oil revenue to about $2bn before leaving office.

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