Food Security: No Governor Received ₦‎30 Billion, Akpabio just playing politics – Makinde

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has declared that there is no truth in the claim by Senate President Godswill Akpabio that states got additional N30 billion each outside of their statutory revenue allocations, to address the food insecurity.

The governor stated this on Thursday, noting that Oyo did not get any N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) or the Federal Government.

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

He stated this in Iseyin, where he commissioned the newly-renovated multi-billion Naira Iseyin Central Mosque facilitated by legal icon, Ahmed Raji, SAN.

The governor added that apart from Oyo not getting N30 billion from any agency or department of the Federal Government, he could say the same for his colleague-governors as vice chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF).

Makinde accused Akpabio of relying on unverified reports, clarifying that it was impossible for states to get funds from the FIRS, since all revenues go into the Federation Account and belongs to the Federal Government, states and the local governments.

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.”

“We have been doing our bit. And the reason I came here is for us to talk to ourselves and intensify prayers. So, this is one of the edifices through which we can reach God, though we have done our bit. We have health insurance for our own people, we gave farm inputs to our farmers but, at this stage, we need to cry to God.

“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. Well, we know there is much to be done and we will continue to do everything within our power to support our people through this hard time.

“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 unverified report, stating that the state governments received additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, 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 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 goes into the federation account and it is distributed to all tiers of government. The FG does not give states money. The money in the federation belongs to all of us; it does not only belong to the Federal Government.

“So, if the Senate President, who is the number three citizen in this country, could be quoting an unverified report, people are looking at us as leaders. This is the period that we are supposed to give confidence to our people. It is not the period to start playing politics or to start looking for scapegoats.

“We need to engage with our people. If our policies are not working, we need to listen to the people and amend. So, if the Number Three Citizen had nothing but unverified report, why did he need to say it? Does his statement give confidence to the people or solve the problem of hunger and anger in the land? Let me say it clearly: as for Oyo State and for most of my colleagues, there is nothing like N30 billion being given to states for food security and I stand to be challenged.

“Yes, the Federal Government promised the states N5 billion and out of that, it only gave N2 billion and they are even asking that the N2 billion should be refunded right now. It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to manage the fiscal situation in Nigeria and manage the inflationary trend we have in the country right now.

“We have been transparent about everything we are doing here and this is the time for us to stay together as a nation to solve the problems we are facing. It is not the time to engage in blame games and propaganda. Hunger and anger are real and, as leaders, we must address them.”

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