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Finance Ministry hits back at Edo State over ECA "attack"

28 May 2015, 21:49

Lagos - The Federal Ministry of Finance has remained defiant amid reported attacks by the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, after Minister Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala published the details of what the Federal and State governments received from the Excess Crude Account over the past four years.

Oshiomhole has criticized the release of the publication reportedly claiming state governors were not properly briefed on the status of the ECA.

It has also been alleged Okonjo-Iweala had not been transparent, “ridiculous” and “totally lacking in merit.

“Obviously, for daring to publish how the ECA was shared and showing that governors who cannot pay salaries have no excuses, Okonjo-Iweala is being targeted. It is noteworthy that several of their colleagues have been able to manage their finances reasonably well under these same difficult circumstances,” Paul Nwabuikwu, Special Adviser to the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, stated.

Also read: Finance Ministry denies accusation on military funds

“Like previous baseless allegations by some Governors, the motive behind Oshiomhole’s attack is clear: to deflect public attention away from the manner in which they have run the finances of their states and make Okonjo-Iweala the scapegoat. If it was meant to intimidate the Minister, it has failed abysmally.”

Nwabuiku said this diversionary tactic would not succeed because Nigerians were “too smart to buy into this fiction.”

“Secondly, the Finance Ministry under Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister who started the practice of publishing details of allocations from the Federation Account to all the three tiers of government, has regularly furnished Nigerians with information on the country’s finances,” said the adviser.

“Governor Oshiomhole’s statement that Okonjo-Iweala ‘must disclose to the nation the full details of subsidy payments made to oil marketers in the last four years’ is therefore astonishing given the fact that every payment made to the marketers has been published in the media and widely disseminated through all news channels.”

Oshiomhole’s allegation that the Minister is involved in “an unholy alliance” with government agencies and the marketers is therefore manifestly untrue and totally irresponsible, Nwabuiku said.

“How can a minister against whom the oil marketers have conducted a very public campaign of calumny be in league with them? A decent public official should not make such scurrilous and unsubstantiated statements.”



- CAJ News

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