By Ebriku John Friday, Abuja
The Senator representing Cross River North Senatorial District, Dr Rose Oko and 41 senators on Tuesday called for the scrapping of the Excess Crude Account, ECA, describing it as an illegality and a drain pipe.
This was contained in a motion sponsored by Sen Oko, where she noted that the ECA that was set up in 2004, ostensibly to provide savings for the country and stabilization for the economy during periods of shortfalls in oil revenue, but without constitutional back up for 13 years of existence.
The motion tititled, Excess Crude Account: An Illegality and A Drain Pipe, aside calling for the scrapping of the ECA also urged the federal government to comply with the provision of the constitution by paying the excess amount about the oil price benchmark to the federation account and the Nigerian Sovereignty Investment Authority (NSIA).
She said, “The Excess Crude Account, ECA, is alien to the 1999 Constitution as amended or any known law in the country. The ECA is not in tandem with section 80 (1-4) and 162 (1-3) of the 1999 Constitution, which prescribes revenue receipts and expenditure.
“These breaches of the Constitution in setting up and operating the ECA have created room for a pool of funds from revenue accruing to the Federation being operated without legal backing and without any checks and balance, thereby providing loopholes for imprudence and financial recklessness.
“A report by the National Resource Governance Institute rates Nigeria’s Excess Crude Account as one of the most poorly managed around the world, where its operation is discretionary and at the whims of the Executive.”
She also noted according to report that the ECA increased from $5.16 billion in 2005 to over $20 billion in 2008, and decreased to less than $4 billion by 2010 with no known tracking of its operations.
According to the Senator at various times and from several quarters in 2013, it was purported that $5 billion was missing from the ECA, and that $2 billion was withdrawn without authorization.
“These accusation between tiers of government portrays a financial system that is flawed and without probity.
“Deeply saddened by the continued impunity of the ECA and its discretionary operation in contravention of the 1999 Constitution, creating room for imprudence, recklessness and arbitrariness and this is one veritable source of huge revenue leakage in the country”, she stated.
She also noted that the ongoing amendment of section 162 of the 1999 Constitution as amended was expected to cure the problem of saving for the nation that is rooted in the Constitution and before that is done, the nation cannot continue to operate an appreciable quantum of revenue arbitrarily, outside the law with no checks and balances.
In her prayers she said, “Request the Executive to act in conformity with sections 80 (1-4) and 162(1-3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended, in its revenue receipt and expenditure.
“Pay the amount above the oil benchmark into the federation account in compliance with the constitution and appropriate some of the amount above the oil benchmark into the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA)/other sectors, and abolish the Excess Crude Account (ECA).”
Other senators who co-sponsored the motion include, Sen. Buhari Abdulfatai (Oyo North), Sen Mohammed Shaaba Lafiaji (Kwara North), Sen Suleiman Adokwe (Nasarawa South), Sen Suleiman O. Hunkuyi (Kaduna North), Sen Gershom H. Bassey (Cross River South), Sen Bassey A. Akpan (Akwa Ibom North-East), Sen Binta Masi Garba (Adamawa North), Sen Enyinnaya H. Abaribe (Abia South), Sen Fatima Raji-Rasaki (Ekiti Central), Sen Barau I. Jibrin (Kano North), Sen Sam O. Egwu (Ebonyi North), Sen Umaru I. Kurfi (Katsina Central), Sen Philips Tanimu Aduda (FCT), Sen Atai Ali Aidoko (Kogi East), Sen Olugbenga Ashafa (Lagos South), Sen Sonny Ogbuoji (Ebonyi South), Sen Mathew Urhoghide (Edo South), and Sen Samuel N. Anyanwu (Imo East).
Others are, Sen Nelson A. Effiong (Akwa Ibom South), Sen Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North-West), Sen Osinakachukwu Ideozu (Rivers West), Sen Jang Jonah David (Plateau North), Babajide C. Omoworare (Osun East), Sen John Owan Enoh (Cross River Central), Sen Emmanuel Paulker (Bayelsa Central), Sen Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir (Sokoto East), Sen Murray-Bruce Ben (Bayelsa East), Sen Olanrewaju A. Tejuoso (Ogun Central), Sen Mao A. Ohuabunwa (Abia North), Sen Ogba Obinna (Ebonyi Central), Sen Uzodinma Goodhope (Imo West), Sen Shenu Sani (Kaduna Central), Sen Duro Samuel Faseyi (Ekiti South), Sen Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti South), Sen Rilwan A. Akanbi (Oyo South), Sen Kabir Marafa (Zamfara Central), Sen Joshua Lidani (Gombe South), Sen Mohammed Hassan (Yobe North), Sen Ajayi Boroffice (Ondo North), and Sen Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto North).
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