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Paris Club Loan Refund: Governors Call Emergency Meeting Over EFCC Probe

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Olusola Fabiyi and Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

Nigerian governors have summoned an emergency meeting over the ongoing probe of how they spent the N522bn Paris Club loan refund which was shared to the states in December 2016, by the Federal Government.

The Director General of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Mr. Bayo Okauru, stated this in an interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Monday.

Okauru said the governors decided to meet in order to clarify some of the issues being raised by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in its investigations.

“Yes, the governors are meeting soon, probably this week to take a position and address some of the issues being raised by the EFCC,” Okauru said.

He, however, said the NGF had nothing to hide in its account.

The PUNCH learnt that EFCC investigators had earlier invited the three signatories to the account of the NGF to its office, where they were questioned on the running of the forum’s account.

The EFCC had earlier told one of our correspondents on Monday that it was at the preliminary stage of the investigation of the 36 state governors in connection with the N522bn Paris Club loan refund, which was shared to the states by the Federal Government.

The Federal Government had, in December, 2016, approved N522.74bn to be paid to the 36 states of the federation as part of the reimbursement for the over-deductions on the Paris Club loan.

The state governments had submitted their claims of over-deductions for external debt servicing arising between 1995 and 2002 to the Federal Government due to the first line charge deductions from the federal allocations.

The EFCC said in a statement by its spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Monday, that no governor had been indicted so far.

The statement read in part, “The commission wishes to state unequivocally, that no state governor or the Senate President has been indicted so far by the investigation which is still at a preliminary stage.

“Also, insinuations about a cover-up by some officials of the commission are untrue as there is no incentive to do so.

“The commission implores the media to be circumspect in the reportage of this delicate issue in order not to jeopardise ongoing investigation, and be assured that they would be fully briefed of developments as soon as a breakthrough is achieved.”

Many of the states reportedly shared their portions with their local governments mostly to settle the backlog of salaries and some of the state-owned debts.

The money was, however, not shared evenly among the states. As of January, N388bn of the money had been released to the states.

Rivers, Lagos, Katsina, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom and Baylesa states were said to have received N14.5bn each while Imo, Niger, Jigawa and Borno states received about N13bn each.

Yobe, Plateau, Ogun, Abia and Zamfara states were said to have received N10bn each while Sokoto, Osun, Kogi, Kebbi, Edo, Cross River and Anambra states got about N11bn each.

Benue and Bauchi states reportedly got about N12bn each.

Other states are Ebonyi, N3.3bn; Adamawa, N4.8bn; Gombe, N8.3bn; Ekiti, N8.8bn; Enugu, N9.9bn; Kwara, N5.4bn; Ondo, N6.5bn; Nasarawa, N8.4bn; Ondo, N6.5bn; Taraba, N4.2bn; and Oyo, N7.2bn.   (Punchng.com)

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