The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has opposed the withdrawal of $1bn (N365) from the Excess Crude Account by the Federal Government to fight the Boko Haram insurgency group.
Emmanuel would become the second governor to reject the move, following in the footsteps of the Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayo Fayose.
The National Economic Council had last Thursday asked the Federal Government to withdraw the $1bn from the $2.3bn currently in the Excess Crude Account and use it to fight insurgency in the North-East.
But the action has since been generating controversies, particularly due to previous claims by the Federal Government that it had succeeded in defeating the insurgency group.
In a statement on Friday, Emmanuel said it was unfortunate that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration had failed to express similar interest in the Niger Delta as it was showing in the North-East.
Emmanuel said he couldn’t have supported the $1bn ECA withdrawal as he was not present at the National Economic Council meeting, where the decision was taken.
“We are not too comfortable with the decision to part with $1bn now. That (kind of money) is supposed to support developments by state governments and local government areas,” the governor said in the statement.
“The excess crude money is for the three tiers of the government and because we are supposed to use it to support what we are doing, we need to discuss more.”
Emmanuel, who is the Chairman, South-South and South-East Governors’ Forum, said most governors from the South-South were not present when the NEC made the decision.
Asking the Federal Government to pay the debts it owed Akwa Ibom State, Emmanuel said the funds would help his administration tackle insecurity in the state.
He said, “I am not speaking for anybody, but I am speaking for myself, that as of today, we are being owed almost N140bn for federal road projects. We have generated electricity and have sold it to the national grid, but we have not been paid for it.
“When we are discussing security, it’s not just one aspect. Let’s look at it in a holistic manner. What actually constitutes security threats to the whole country?”