House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila has reacted to the recent $1 billion withdrawal from the Excess Crude Account(ECA). The House of representatives member wrote on social media;
“It is important that the legality of the withdrawal of $1b from the Excess Crude Account is properly understood.
1. The ECA I have always maintained is an illegal account and I instituted a court action against it during then Jonathan administration.
2. Unfortunately, until a final decision has been made by the courts the account is still operative.
3. There is a clear misunderstanding of the powers of the National Assembly over public funds and its limitations.
4. The National Assembly only has power of appropriation over monies belonging to the federal government.
5. The ECA does not belong to the federal government but to the 3 tiers of government.
6. The National Assembly cannot query how the states decide to spend their money. The only institution that can query this is the state assembly.
7. Where the Governors have decided to “donate” some of their funds from the ECA to fight Boko Haram, their state assemblies can kick against it that such was not appropriated by them. I do agree that due process wasn’t followed by The Governors as they should have sought approval of their states before the donation.
It is however not for the NASS to complain on behalf of the State Assemblies. This is part of the principle of separation of powers in a constitutional democracy. The National Assembly can only discuss the portion of the federal government money spent if any.
On whether Gov Fayose or any other Gov has a right to kick I believe he does. No matter how inappropriate if he does not accede to the request or deduction from his state’s portion there is no amount of consensus that can bind him as postulated by the Chairman of the Governors forum because such portion belongs to his state and not to the Governors forum. So he may be entitled to a refund.
This is my position on this legality of the withdrawal of $1b from the ECA.