The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the excess crude account does not belong to the Federal Government but the three tiers of government.
In a statement made available to Channels Television on Sunday, he said that the National Assembly, therefore, has no legal authority to query state governments on how they chose to spend their money.
Governors of the 36 states of the Federation had on Thursday given the Federal Government approval to utilise $1billion from Nigeria’s excess crude account to tackle Boko Haram insurgency.
The move has generated criticism from the opposing Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and others who questioned the plan by the Federal Government to use such huge amount to tackle Boko Haram insurgency which it claimed to have defeated.
If the fund in question belonged to the Federal Government, then the National Assembly’s approval would have been required, Gbajabiamila explained.
But since it involves other tiers of government, he believes the National Assembly has no say in the matter.
“There is a clear misunderstanding of the powers of the National Assembly over public funds and its limitations. The National Assembly only has the power of appropriation over monies belonging to the federal government.
“The ECA does not belong to the Federal Government but to the three tiers of government. The National Assembly cannot query how the states decide to spend their money. The only institution that can query this is the state assembly.
“Where the Governors have decided to “donate” some of their funds from the ECA to fight Boko Haram, their state assemblies can kick against it that such was not appropriated by them. I do agree that due process wasn’t followed by The Governors as they should have sought approval of their states before the donation.
“It is however not for the NASS to complain on behalf of the State Assemblies. This is part of the principle of separation of powers in a constitutional democracy. The National Assembly can only discuss the portion of the federal government money spent if any,” Gbajabiamila said.
In November this year, the Senate called on President Muhammadu Buhari to abolish the Excess Crude Account, after declaring it alien to the 1999 constitution and, therefore, illegal.
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