The crisis rocking the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee over the sharing of revenue accruing to the three tiers of government assumed a new twist on Thursday as members staged a walkout on the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama.
The committee, which is chaired by Ngama, has the commissioners of Finance from the 36 states of the federation as members.
Thursday’s meeting, which was convened to approve and also share the statutory allocation for the month of May, ended abruptly as the commissioners protested what they called shabby accounts presented at the meeting.
Specifically, the Forum of Commissioners of Finance from the 36 states, led by the Chairman, Mr. Timothy Odaah, complained bitterly about the unpaid arrears amounting to about N160bn (about $1bn).
Odaah, who addressed journalists shortly after the walkout, said the resolve to boycott the plenary session of the committee followed the non-implementation of the previous resolutions reached at FAAC meetings.
He said, “The essence of the press conference is to tell the world, the federation, especially our respective citizens from the local governments, states and down to the federal level the reason behind our boycotting the FAAC session.
“The non-implementation of decisions or resolutions taken in some of the FAAC plenary sessions, especially the one held in May 2013, which by all implication still remains inconclusive.
“Based on the fact that the arrears of February have not yet been paid and no clue is given, the augmentation as of last month passed by the resolution is not paid and no clue to the payable period.”
Odaah said the commissioners had been severally disappointed by the administration of FAAC.
He said, “The states and the local governments we are representing have been bearing with the situation, the contractors have to be paid and workers have to be taken care of; the various projects of the states and local governments embodied in their various manifestos have to be met.
“We defer to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria with every respect that he and the governors should hear what is happening, which we have been hiding.”
Odaah said the message would also be taken to the governors and other entities in the federation, who would meet with the President to find the best way to resolve the problem.
Ngama, who could not be reached for comments, according to findings, was jolted by the action of the commissioners.
Information from Punch was used in this report.