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Governors received N30bn to cushion hardship – Akpabio

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Senate debunks rumoured plans to impeach Akpabio

The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, stated that an “unverified report” revealed that state governors received N30 billion apiece from the Federation Account to alleviate inflation and high food prices in their respective states.

Last September, the federal government announced that N2 billion had been released to governors from the N5 billion loan it gave to each state to cushion the impact of the cessation of fuel subsidies.

During the plenary on Tuesday, Akpabio stated that information available to him suggests that, in addition to the initial tranche of monies, the governors received an additional N30 billion through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

“I must say that an unverified report has it that each of the state governments in the last few months has received additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service outside their normal allocations from the Federation Account to assist them in ameliorating the food situation,” Akpabio said.

Akpabio advised the governors to use the funds judiciously to reduce the high cost of food items and other challenges facing the country.

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“We believed that every state government should utilise the funds received towards ensuring that food is available in the country.

“So, the state governments have a lot to do. They are closer to the people, and I do not want to mention local government because most of the local governments are controlled by the state governors.

“My belief is that if the state government does what is needed, then the local government will be involved in sharing to make sure that these things get to the people. But we must not overlook the fact that Nigerians are not going to be interested in stories.

“Nigerians want to see action. Nigerians want to eat, and we will provide food for them; there is no excuse. Despite what we met on the ground,” Akpabio added.

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However, Akpabio alleged that many of the protests were organised by an organisation opposed to the federal administration.

Akpabio claimed that the demonstrators and their supporters refused to appreciate the Senate and the federal government’s efforts to combat inflation in the country.

“The situation is revolving daily. You can see a lot of protests here and there, but those people are not aware. Most of those sponsored protests are not aware of the kind of efforts being made by this Senate to tackle the situation together with the joint management team of the Federation Government of Nigeria.

“There is no father who will want to see his child sleep in the night without food with the stomach grumbling, so we must provide. That is why I said we must not limit our discussion to We will not import food; wherever we can find food to put on the table of Nigerians, we shall do so,” Akpabio said.

Akpabio added that the worsening economic situation was driven by COVID-19, insecurity, and the N30 trillion Ways and Means Advance acquired by the Muhammadu Buhari administration from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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“It is an uncommon situation that has been execrated by many factors, from COVID-19 to insecurity to inflation to even the ways and means of N30 trillion that put so much pressure on the Central Bank of Nigeria and left a very big gap in the financial situation such that if this government inherited this situation, it tried to feel the gap. It means that people will not eat, salaries will not be paid, and nothing will be done until the gap is filled. We have taken it, and we must move on,” Akpabio said.

In his speech, Deputy Senate President Barau Jibrin stated that the high cost of living and deteriorating economic situation are not unique to Nigeria.

Mr. Jibrin stated that other developed countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States of America, are also experiencing difficult economic times.

“What is happening presently in Nigeria is not something that is happening in isolation. It is not only Nigeria that is facing this economic challenge. It is something that has an international dimension.

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“The world economy is not in its best shape as we speak. As we speak, the United Kingdom’s economy is in recession. They are in recession as we speak. The price of goods and commodities in the whole world has risen everywhere—in the U.S., name it. So, it is not peculiar to Nigeria.

“The Russia-Ukraine war and the Middle East crisis have created a situation where prices of goods and commodities all over the world have gone up. So what is left for us here is to look at our own problems and try to summon these problems, and that is exactly what we are doing. We should stop thinking that it is only Nigeria,” he added.

The Deputy Senate President stated that the federal government is doing all possible to address the economy’s deterioration.

“Yes, we are facing challenges occasioned by what is happening internationally. We have to look at the problems and how we deal with them, and this is exactly what we are doing.

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“Of course, our security situation is not what we want it to be. We understand that the CinC (Commander-in-Chief) is doing his best in collaboration with service chiefs and other security agencies. They are doing their best.

“The government is doing its best, and the president is doing his best. What we need to do is have everybody come together, a full collaboration of everyone,” he said.

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