AEF Calls For More Accountability Among FG, State Govts

By Nana Musa

The Chairman of Arewa Economic Forum (AEF), Alhaji Ibrahim Dandakata, has called for more accountability among the Federal and State governments.

Dandakata made this call at the news conference organised in Abuja on Thursday.

Dandakata described the removal of the fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu as a good thing, saying it has increased the monies shared at the Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meetings.

He said that some states take home humongous figures on a monthly basis, adding “but how has more money for governors to play with affected the lives of the masses.

He said that the forum had found out the huge money available to states were not trickling down because the governors were not investing in areas that would reflect the state economy.

He added that state governors were not also committed to providing palliatives for the people.

“A check we conducted on recent FAAC allocations has shown that some of the states have had their allocations increased by 90 per cent with little or no improvement in the lives of the people.

“The percentage increase in the allocations to states after fuel subsidy removal is humongous,” he said.

Dandakata urged the President to reverse the subsidy removal policy and use the extra money from FAAC being giving to states to resume payment of subsidy on petrol.

“The President should do this urgently if he knows he can’t find a way within the limit of his constitutional powers and political influence to make the governors more accountable to the people,” he said.

Dandakata urged the FG to put together a proper social register that could be used to distribute food items to Nigerians without the involvement of the state governments.

He described the plan for the establishment of state policing system to combat the rising insecurity in the country as a good idea.

“While we admit that state police is a good concept on its own which works for other nations, we are however against the idea of empowering our governors with a tool they are most likely to use for political witch-hunting.

“We are proposing that federal government should revive and expand the Police Constabulary and provide for it the logistics needed to support security agencies to combat crimes at local levels,” Dandakata said.

He also called on that federal government to summon adequate political will to arrest the free fall of the value of Naira.

“Dollar is not a legal tender in Nigeria. The government should therefore ban the practice of keeping dollars at home or in offices and clampdown on all hoarders of dollars.

“The government should also investigate why dollars go up after every FAAC meeting.

“Relevant government agencies should also ban the practice of paying for goods and services online in dollars.

“Everything must be in Naira as far as it is done by a Nigerian in Nigeria.

“If we don’t stop our obsession with the dollar, our Naira will never rise,” Dandakata said.

The Chairman called on the state governments to do more on development of agriculture sector.

He said that all agricultural facilities were within the grasp of the state governments including dams and the land, but they were not doing enough especially in the areas of irrigation and provision of lands for farming.

He called on the federal government to also ensure that in its agricultural development plans include semi-mechanised farming that creates job opportunities.

On mining, Dandakata said it was on the exclusive list of the federal government, hence government should come up with any clear cut plan on artisanal mining that is an untapped.

“Government should concentrate on developing artisanal miners and not just the big companies.

“Education is the bedrock of society and we need to now focus on teaching our young ones both the hard and soft skills that can give them real sustenance and make them useful to the economy,” Dandakata said.

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