From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Integrity Friends for Truth and Peace Initiative (TIFPI) has criticized governors of the Niger Delta region for demonstrating “unfairness and wickedness” to their people over the payment of 13 percent derivation arrears by Federal Government.
Executive Director of TIFPI,
Livingstone Wechie, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said it was worrisome that governors of the region had been receiving these monies from Federal Government without disclosure to their people.
Wechie noted that if not the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, making the disclosure publicly, Nigerians, particularly people from the region, wouldn’t have known that Federal Government had paid such monies which amounted to hundreds of billions of naira.
He said: “The recent Pandora box of the 13 percent derivation payment by the Federal Government to the oil-producing States leaves too much to be desired.
“The fact that the payment of these monies running into hundreds of billions which hitherto became a secret, which was made public by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, speaks volumes on how monies meant for the development the affected States are either mismanaged or diverted.
“What is most appalling yet curious, is the fact that the figures the States claim to have received from the Federal Government during the period after the whistle blowing are conflicting with the records released by the Federal Government.
“It is important to state that these governors have been very unfair and wicked to their States particularly during this period of economic crisis.
“These governors and every public office holder should be told again that it is criminal for anyone to run public funds as though they are private monies because immunity does not mean impunity as they make it look. This by itself goes to the root of our backwardness as a people in terms of infrastructure development.”
The TIFPI boss said Federal Government was duty bound to be publishing every kobo paid to any state or local government at all times, to show transparency and probity.
“This is what open governance should be about. This will help checkmate cases of excessive impropriety and malfeasance by public office holders.
“By this development, the Federal Government should take further steps to show commitment to fighting fiscal recklessness beyond the usual rhetoric. This is because the instant situation seriously indicts the Federal Government as aiding fiscal irresponsibility in the management of tax payer’s monies with States.
“The issue is unarguably expressed in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), which for years now, has not been making remittance to the Federation Account and this administration sees nothing wrong with such lethal fraud.
“The Federal Government is, therefore, challenged to come out clean on the state of fiscal affairs as it concerns the NNPC, as part of the anchors for economic rebounding plans to salvage Nigeria from further socioeconomic woes.”