Posted by News Express | 26 March 2017 | 2,441 times
South-East governors are under intense pressure for full disclosure on how they spent the more than $800 million first tranche of the Paris Club refund.
The figure is the largesse that accrued to the five states in the zone out of the overall $6.9 billion Paris Club refund to all the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The amount that accrued to each of the five states included: Abia got 151,410,816.39; Anambra-162,163,091.98; Enugu-142,034,156.54; Imo-185,451,792.92 and Ebonyi-119,419,427.74.
Twenty groups comprising professionals, spearheading the demand for accountability from the governors, said no fresh refund should be made to the states until their governors rendered full account for the initial fund.
Most of the states in the two zones are bogged down by months of unpaid workers’ salaries and pensions, as well as infrastructural decay.
Acting under the aegis of South-East Democracy Clinic (SEDC), the coalition, which said its members had consistently monitored the management of public resources by the present and past governors, was worried about the failure of governance in the zone.
“The secret nature of handling public resources as well as personalisation of decisions on public resources has made South-East development to heavily suffer stagnation, and in some cases, retrogression.
“Since 1999, there have been several scandals that border on fraud, waste and abuse of resources belonging to one South-East state or another. It has been observed also that the budget process in the South-East is exclusive of citizens, except in Enugu and Anambra, where reforms have started but have not gained strong roots.
“Till date, no South-East governor, who collected the salary bailout funds, has been able to clearly account for how it was spent,” the coalition claimed.
It added: “We make this demand believing that South-East governors have the responsibility of ensuring that they judiciously use the allocations to the region to cushion the effects of both federal marginalisation and the current economic recession.
“If our demands are not met within one month, the civil society organisations will consider statutory accountability options and other legal avenues to stimulate the desired citizens’ accountability in South-East Nigeria,” the organisation stated. (Sunday Tribune)
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