Reactions are trailing the approval given to the Federal Government by the National Executive Council to withdraw $1billion from the Excess Crude Account.
Former Minister of Education and BBOG co-convener, Oby Ezekwesili reacted on Twitter, calling for a public hearing on the status of the war which had been declared won.
Her words: “Wawu! $1Billion??. This money for the same war that the Chief of Army Staff recently said “is over and now left to the political class to mop up” or is it another? PLEASE READ OUR LATEST BBOG_Nigeria Statement AND ASK QUESTIONS dear friends! #IsThisSlushFundLoading
“We at BBOG_Nigeria had in our Statement wondered how the Chief of Army Staff could say the war was over and yet citizens were reporting deaths. Is it the same Army that now needs $1 Billion for war it said was over? Please clarify Aso Rock.
“I do not think that the NEC can just draw $1B dollars from the Excess Crude Account without involvement of the National Assembly. Let there be a PUBLIC HEARING on STATUS OF THE COUNTER-TERRORISM WAR immediately before any $ is released from the ECA. #Accountability.
The President, Campaign for Democracy, Usman Abdul, said, “This is what happens when you have leaders who are not thinkers. They cannot think outside the box. We are bound to be faced with such challenges.
“The military have come out to say that Boko Haram was technically defeated and Camp Zero was captured. I don’t see then any rationale behind dipping our hands into our excess crude account.
“These are the proceeds of our generality and we have other presidential sources of revenue going into the North-East. What is the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative doing? The political leaders are rather looking for ways to steal money for the 2019 campaigns.”
Executive Director, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, believed the past allocations to defence and the military should be accounted for before voting another huge amount for military operations.
Adeniran added, “Let us first know how the budgetary allocations for defence and the military have been expended. We all recall the $2.1bn Dasuki loot. The governors should not put their eyes on the excess crude oil account.
“The Ministry of Defence and the services should first give account of how the monies on fighting the Boko Haram insurgency were spent before we can start talking about dipping hands into our excess crude account.”
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said the decision to take $1bn from the excess crude account was not rational, adding that anything outside the budgetary allocations must be tabled before the National Assembly for consideration and approval.
SERAP Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, stated, “Whatever is not properly appropriated for should not be considered. That is the only way we can maintain sanity in our public expenditure.
“The Presidency may want to say that security matters are fundamental. But we cannot continue to have all manner of expenditures on Boko Haram. That will be reckless to me.”
A security analyst, Ben Okezie, lauded the move, explained that countries like the United States had spent billions of dollars to fight insurgency and insecurity within and outside their borders.
“No amount is too much to spend on fighting insurgency because without peace, there cannot be social or economic development. I think it is a good development,” he noted.
A retired Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, said: “It is a good move but the government should ensure that it is judiciously utilised. I also want President Buhari to caution the governors and other office seekers against arming thugs to win elections. Insecurity is the result of proliferation of arms.”
Reno Omokri new media aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan: “But wait. The Buhari administration wants to take $1 Billion from the Excess Crude Account to fight Boko Haram? Was it not just weeks ago that they said Boko Haram is finished? Did they not say there were ‘technically defeated’? Who spends $1 billion on a finished defeated foe?”
Former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode: “$1 billion is to be taken from the badly depleted Excess Crude Account to “fight Boko Haram”.
This is a lie. The $1 billion will be used by Buhari and his APC to fight the 2019 presidential election and part of it will be shared between party leaders and the cabal.
Additional reactions from The PUNCH