Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has distanced himself from the proposed withdrawal of $1billion from the excess crude fund by the Federal Government to tackle insecurity.
Speaking with Government House reporters shortly on arrival at the Ibom International Airport from official engagements, Governor Emmanuel said, like most Governors, he was not present when the National Economic Council meeting took the decision.
He regretted that the Federal Government had failed to release such similar support to the Niger Delta States, despite the spate of militancy, kidnapping and other acts of insecurity in the region.
“We are not too comfortable with the decision to part with one billion dollars now, that is supposed to support developments by State Governments and Local Government areas.”
He said there is need for more discussions on the proposed fund, saying “the excess crude money is for the three tiers of Government and because we are supposed to actually use it to support what we are doing, we need to discuss more.”
Mr Emmanuel said most Governors, especially Governors of the South-South were not present during the discussion.
He said if the Federal Government refunds outstanding debts owed Akwa Ibom, it will help his administration tackle acts that could result in insecurity in his state.
“I am not speaking for anybody but I am speaking for myself that as at today, I am being owed almost 140 billion naira on Federal roads. I have generated electricity, I have sold to the National GRID, I have not been paid for it.
So when we are discussing security, it’s not just one aspect, let’s look at it in a holistic manner, what actually constitutes security threats to the whole country?”
Governor Emmanuel was confident the decision on the crude fund will eventually be reviewed as the decision will not augur well with his state and so many other states.
“Well, based on what I read, I wasn’t there, they said 36 Governors, I wasn’t at the meeting but let’s believe it shall be looked into again.”
The Governor who also gave an insight on the just concluded meeting of all the Governors and Speakers of Houses of Assembly of the different 36 states, said it was the first of its kind in the country’s recent history.
He said the essence of the meeting was to examine issues involved in the ongoing constitutional amendment exercise.
“If you look at other countries of developed democracies, you don’t just wake up one morning and amend constitution, it’s a whole long process. So we believe the stage we are right now, we needed to meet with them and then let’s interact and let’s see what will be the best for our people.”