How Can This Be Called A Government?
*CONDEMNATION OF USE OF PUBLIC FUND FOR DEVELOPMENT OF RANCH IN KATSINA STATE AND CALL FOR PROBE AND REVERSAL*
Coalition of Civil Society, Workers and Human Rights Defenders and Mass Movement For True Democracy, Integral Development and Good Governance wish to condemn in very strong term, the use of public fund for the funding and and development of private business of individuals seeming relatives and community members of the president as well as questioning the legality of such action
On Friday, 16th July, 2021, the media reported the statement of Senior Special Assistant to the president, Mr Garba Shehu informing the Nigerian people and the world at large that the president of Federal Republic of Nigeria has approved the sum of N6.25 Billion Naira for the kick-starting of Ranching business in his state. The Governor of the state even revealed further that out of the sum, N5Billion has been released.
From the foregoing, it is quite clear that the aporoval and release of the fund cast serious doubts as to legality, due process of the approval and real motive, purpose and would-be beneficiary of the fund. The agency that will use or using the fund and who should be held accountable for use or misuse is not known or mentioned. Whether the fund is approved for use by the Katsina state Governor or any of the agencies of the Federal Government is not known or mentioned. Again, whether it was approved as a grant or loan to the Katsina state Government or as part of the programmes of the Federal Government like National Agricultural Transformation Agenda programme of the Federal Government is not known or mentioned.
From our position, the approval of such fund by the person of the president is quite illegal as it lacks the backing of the constitution for whatever purpose it is meant for. While we cannot ascertain whether such fund is provided for in the budget, such approval should have been conveyed by the Federal Executive Council for whatever purpose and must contain in the budget. Also not mentioned were the date of approval and release of part of the fund. The news of the approval and release of fund coming at the same time from different persons put a serious doubt as per the release of the fund and approval, which one preceded each other.
Even if such approval underwent the due process and enjoyed legal flavours, the legality and morality of such usage are condemnable.
It is quite illegal and indeed highly immoral for the president to use the opportunity of his being the president to divert the Tax Payers money to establish and develop private business of selected people from his own tribe to the neglect and disadvantage of the other members of Nigeria people. The way and manner of such approval, the speedy manner of release and the purpose live no conscious being in doubt as to the personal interest of the president, being known to be a notable cattle owner. We are highly suspicious of the fact that the Ranch the fund is meant for will turn out to be meant for the rearing of the cattles of the president now and after the end of his tenure as the president.
1.Minister for Budget and Economic planning to explain to Nigeria people which budgets of the Federal Government that contains the N6.25B for Cattle Ranch in Katsina state.
2. That Minister for Finance to explain to Nigeria people when the Federal Executive Council approved the sum of N6.25B out of which she released N5B. She should explain to us from which subhead the sum was released as well as to whom the money was released.
3. Nigeria Senate and House of Representatives should as a matter of urgency, probe into the money, pass a motion asking for the reverse of the approval and return of the fund.
4. EFCC and ICPC should probe into the circumstances of the fund and its release.
5. Civil Society Organisations should rise to challenge the approval and release of this fund as the action of the approval and release of the sum may likely expand the space of national disunity and security threats because of the likelihood of people from other ethnic nationalities and states to step up of demand for secession because of the inherent injustices in the unilateral approval and release of the fund.
6. We call for immediate reversal of the approval and return of the released fund or in the alternative, payment of the same amount to all other states to embark on Agricultural practice in their own areas of comparative advantage and urge other Civil Society organisations and workers’ Unions to follow suit.
7.. We also call for immediate probe into the process of approval and the release of fund used for the completion of Regional Water Scheme, Dutsin-ma, Kaduna state by the National Assembly.
8. Nigeria Governors should also rise to challenge this approval of the use of the money of the federation to fund establishment and development of Ranch in Katsina State and probe into the process of the approval and release of fund for the water scheme with the fund of the federation. They should also ensure that all other abandoned Federal Government projects in other states receive equal attention and treatment.
Comrade Osmond Ugwu
President, International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative, Convener of the Coalition and Leader of the Movement.
Dr Jerry Chukwuokolo
Mass Movement For True Democracy, Integral development and Good Governance.
Coalition of Civil Societies, Workers and Human Rights Defenders.