• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Food crisis: FG didn’t give states N30bn each, says Makinde

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Seyi Makinde, Oyo State governor and vice chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, has refuted the recent comment by Godswill Akpabio, president of the Senate, that states got additional N30 billion each outside of their statutory revenue allocations to address the food insecurity challenges in the country.

The governor said in a statement on Thursday that his state has not received any N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) or the federal government, adding that his government has been and will always be open and transparent to the people.

Makinde, who added that he has been doing everything to cushion the effect of the economic hardship on the people, warned that leaders should instil confidence and hope in the citizenry in this trying time rather than playing the blame game.

Makinde spoke in Iseyin, where he commissioned the newly-renovated multibillion-naira Iseyin Central Mosque facilitated by Ahmed Raji, a senior advocate of Nigeria, according to the statement.

Makinde decried Akpabio’s reliance on unverified reports, saying states couldn’t get funds from the FIRS, since all revenues go into the federation account and belong to the Federal Government, states, and local governments.

According to Makinde, the only fund that Oyo State got outside of statutory allocation was N2 billion out of the N5 billion promised to all states in the wake of the removal of fuel subsidy, and the federal government has even been asking for a refund of the money.

Makinde added that his government has been doing its best to mitigate the hardship on residents of the state through the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SafER).

He said: “This is a very difficult period in our nation’s history because all of us are aware of what we are going through economically. But for us as an administration, I can say we are the first in Nigeria to announce and implement measures on the 9th of June 2023, to cushion the effect of this policy through SAfER.

“For the workers, we have been paying a wage award; N25,000 for workers and N15,000 for pensioners, and we have paid for close to six months. Only last week, I announced an extension for another six months so that we can have the time to conclude the discussion on minimum wage.”

Makinde said: “This is not the time to play politics, as we have real issues that deserve real solutions. But yesterday, I saw the video and read in the news where the Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, made a statement, though he said it was an unverified report, stating that the state governments received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, outside of our statutory allocation, in the last few months, to address food security.

“Please, listen to me loud and clear. I can speak for Oyo State and can also speak for any of my colleagues. This is because, as the vice chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, I know when things are happening.

“If I want to play politics, I will keep quiet and let this slide, but I am not going to let this slide. FIRS cannot give money to any state. It is not possible. All revenues accruing to the country go into the federation account and it is distributed to all tiers of government. The federal government does not give states money. The money in the federation belongs to all of us; it does not only belong to the federal government.”