Explains Why N100B Bond Was Converted To Loan
RIVERS State Governor Chibuike Amaechi has blamed weak institutions for the massive corruption plaguing Nigeria.
Amaechi, who is also chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), explained that this is the reason why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Police have remained a tool for silencing government opponents.
The governor stated this at the second Prof Claude Ake Memorial Lecture, with the theme, ‘Combating the resource curse: strategies for economic transformation in a natural resource rich economy,’ organized by the state government in Port Harcourt Friday.
In another development, Amaechi has cleared the air as to why his administration asked the State Assembly to convert the already approved N100billion bond into loan.
He explained that the conversion from bond to loan of the said sum is to enable government complete ongoing projects in the state before the rainy season sets in.
He made the clarification shortly after signing into law the Rivers State 2013 appropriation bill of N490.3billion and the state’s Internal Revenue Service bill at the Government House yesterday.
Amaechi explained that the availability of natural resources in any given society is not a curse rather it is those who mismanage the resources that inflict curse on their people. According to him, the reason corruption is so pervasive and also an acceptable norm in Nigeria is the non-existence of institution to hold those in power accountable.
He pointed out the primary underlying motive for the fierce competition for power in Nigeria is the desire to control resources. Amid this struggle, he said those who oppose the powers-that-be are harassed with State agencies like the EFCC, ICPC and the Police. This sort of harassment, the governor added, will intensify ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The former President of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas, expressed dismay that the benefits of Nigeria’s vast oil and gas resources has not trickled down to the greater proportion of her population. According to him, reports indicate that Nigeria has earned over $900billiion from the sales of crude oil in the last 30 years. Out of this said amount, about N400billion could not be accounted for because of corruption.
The former ECOWAS president called for a review of the fundamentals of the Nigerian economy. He also stressed the need for strong institutions and good governance in combating corruption, which has been the bane of the country’s underdevelopment.
On his part, chairman of the occasion and former Nigerian ambassador to the United States of America, Professor George Obizor, called for the restructuring of the country along the lines of true federalism where the federating units will control their natural resources
Obizor explained that the abolition of the 1963 federal constitution and the foisting of a unitary constitution on the country gave rise to the fierce competition for the control of power and resources at the centre.
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