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Governors Demand 1Billion From Excess crude To Settle Contractors

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States governors have demanded $1 billion from the excess crude account to enable them settle contractors of various projects in their states.

In the same vein, the Federal Government has agreed to reimburse all states for the roads constructed or rehabilitated in 2013, this is following the conclusion of verification and harmonisation of claims.

Addressing State House correspondents at the end of the last National Economic Council (NEC) for the year chaired by Vice President Namadi Sambo, the Governor of Gombe, Ibrahim Dankwambo alongside his colleagues Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Martibs Elechi of Ebonyi and Deputy Governor of Sokoto, Muktar Shagari, disclosed that a total sum of N881 billion has been paid for subsidy claims while N100 billion was still needed for settlement.

Speaking more on the demand of $1 billion by state governors, Shagari said, the money is important because state governments have uncompleted projects that are useful to the people and the contractors will be paid, thereby preventing them from abandoning the projects.

On the excess crude account, he said Council was briefed on the state of negotiations between Federal Government and States on the status and it was advised that negotiation should continue pending the court decision on the matter.

Shagari however said, “We agreed to allow the case in court to continue so that we will know at the end of the day how the excess crude will be shared. There is no disagreement between states and federal government but we are only trying to ensure the right thing is done, due process is followed”.

On state of federal roads and rehabilitation, Fayemi said Council assured that States will be paid all works done for Federal Roads by the Federal Ministry of Works.

He said Council reassured that verification has been completed and will be presented to council early next year to enable the funds to be released to states.

On borrowing plan, Fayemi said State Commissioners are to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Finance on the guideline and borrowing facilities in earnest.

Borrowing plan, council confirmed that there was need for harmonisation with FMF, governors or representatives are ti make themselves available to the committees in National Assembly to harmonise the figures on external debts.

On establishment of security outfits in the states, he said the National Security Adviser (NSA), briefed Council on the establishment of security outfits in the States as part of measures of improving security in the Country.

He said issues such as establishment of vigilante group, provision of grazing land and abuse of siren were also discussed.

He said all state vigilante groups should follow federal government guidelines.

Fayemi also said it was resolve that the Office of NSA should proceed to collaborate with States and expedite action as regards to stopping use of siren,  that states to submit preliminary action on grazing land and that security agencies should ensure procurement of tracking equipment to support operation.

Council resolved that States should provide grazing land to forestall continued clashes between farmers and herdsmen.

After extensive discussion on the abuse of siren and security men attached, it was resolved only those authorized should use sirens henceforth and no man should drive around with number plates not identified. He said both the Governors and NSA agreed that this is one issue that would be taken seriously.

On building of a national broadband and ICT infrastructure, Shagari said the Minister of Communication Technology presented a paper to the Council on Building A National Broadband and ICT Infrastructure in Nigeria.

She said the idea of the National Broadband would serve both the economic and social life in Nigeria as follows:- Increase in size and productivity of the ICT sector and increase productivity through adoption and use of ICT; and Contribute to increase social welfare and security.

He said Council resolved to set up a committee to look into it and report during the second NEC meeting 2013.

Members of the committee are; Governor of Gombe state, Chairman, Governors of Kwara, Kebbi, Oyo, Abia, Edo, the Vice Chairman NCC  Minister of Communication Technology, representative of FIRAnanda four members each of Telecom Operators.

The Council was briefed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on the framework for the Nigerian Centenary Celebration in 2014 and it was commended by the Governors.

The  Council resolved that the Governors should prepare their input to key in the programme before the end of 2012.

Elechi said the celebration will show a lot of history and what is being done. State governors have agreed to set up state committees to key in to the federal government project.

Also council was given an update on stakeholders committee on NEED assessment on education in Nigeria.

The Minister of National Planning briefed council that Committee work with stakeholders was in progress.

The Committee was urged to consider UNESCO Report on Education in its report and it was given January 2013 for submission of report by the committee.