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Presidency Backtracks, Says $1 Billion From ECA Not for Fighting Boko Haram Alone

The controversy over the nod given by governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight the insurgency in the North-east took another turn Tuesday, when Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said that the $1 billion was not solely earmarked for the fight against Boko Haram, but to tackle security challenges nationwide.

Osinbajo’s disclosure came just as Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose said he had dragged the federal government and the NGF to court over the matter.

The vice-president, who spoke at the opening of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Secretaries to State Governments’ retreat in Abuja, said the $1 billion approved by the governors was meant to fight all forms of security challenges facing various states in the country.

He said the money from the ECA would be used to tackle security challenges such as Boko Haram in the North-east, kidnapping, small arms trafficking, cattle rustling, and clashes between herdsmen and farmers.

According to Osinbajo, “It was on account of the security summit that the governors under the NGF decided that they would vote a certain sum of money, which has become somewhat controversial.

“The $1billion is meant to assist the security architecture of the country. It is to cater to all of the issues in the states, including policing in the states, community policing, and all of the different security challenges that we have.

“It was after the security summit that the governors’ forum met across party lines, and I must add that this is what is needed to be done to shore up our security architecture.”

At the end of last week’s meeting of the National Economic Council, the governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, had made public the approval given by the governors to the federal government to withdraw the $1 billion from the ECA to fight the insurgency.

But the decision has stirred up a lot of criticism, especially from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which claimed that the reason given for the withdrawal was a ploy to deceive Nigerians.

PDP also alleged that the $1 billion was going to be used by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to fund its campaigns for the 2019 elections.

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Copyright 2017 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.

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