An aide to President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the president won’t spend the $1 billion from the nation’s Excess Crude Oil Account, ECA, to fund the fight against insecurity unless he receives approval from the national assembly.
“I want to clarify that none of these monies will be used by Mr. President, by the military or released for any purpose unless and until the money is appropriated by the National Assembly,” Ita Enang, a presidential assistant on National Assembly matters, said on Tuesday in Uyo.
The Senate had before embarking on its recess in December asked the president not to spend the money without appropriation by the National Assembly.
Nigerians have expressed divergent opinions on the government’s intention to withdraw the money which it said would be used to fight Boko Haram and other forms of insecurity in the different parts of the country.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, particularly accused Mr. Buhari and his ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, of wanting to use the money to their own advantage in the 2019 elections.
Mr. Enang, a former senator, spoke on the controversy surrounding the money when he granted an interview to Atlantic FM, Uyo.
“A lot of people have said that the money has not been appropriated by the National Assembly.
“I will say that the 2018 budget is still before the National Assembly. If we conclude the tallying to know what the different armed services need, the army, the air force, and the navy, and the police, and others, we will then present that to the National Assembly, and we will only implement it subject to what they have approved,” Mr. Enang said.
He added that Nigerians shouldn’t be worried about the safety of the fund.
Mr. Enang also spoke on the looted funds recovered by the federal government, saying that such money has been spent on projects.
He said, “If you look at the 2017 budget, recovered funds is listed as one of the sources of funding the budget. So, any money that is recovered by the federal government has already been appropriated for by the National Assembly.
“It is not that the money is recovered and kept somewhere different,” he said.