THE Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and a human rights group, Human Rights Writers Association (HURIWA) have condemned calls by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum for the scrapping of the recently established Sovereign Wealth Fund which replaced the Excess Crude Account where excess budgetary revenues are pooled for serious national intervention.
ICAN made its position known in Abuja yesterday when its newly installed President, Prof. Francis Ojaide and the Chairman of the Abuja District Society, Mallam Shehu Aladire spoke to journalists after a visit by the ICAN Executive to the Auditor-General of the Federation, Mr. Samuel Ukura, while HURIWA’s reaction is contained in a statement by its boss, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko.
According to ICAN, the governors should exercise restraint and follow due process in their agitation because the fund is backed by law and is in the interest of the entire nation and even the unborn.
Said Ojaide : “The law must be complied with. Until the law is repealed, there is nothing you can do about it. One thing about a law is to put things in proper perspective and if the law has to be changed, then the necessary procedure should be followed. And if it’s the will of the generality of the people, then so let it be. But at this stage, opinion can’t change the law, the law prevails until it is amended.
“I think they have made it a political issue. But as a professional, and looking at this call from the professional angle, the issue is that first and foremost, you look at the prudent and the judicious ways of responding to the nation’s financial and natural resources. In this context, I would want to say leave the law the way it is until it is repealed.
“Let’s also look at issues. If the laws are not meeting the will of the people, then the will of the people should prevail. Laws are made for men, not men for laws, and men are just there to obey the laws and if the laws are no longer conducive based on prevailing circumstances, they need to be amended to satisfy the needs of the people.
“It’s just like this six-year tenure thing. In fact, that’s the best thing that should happen, it will reduce acrimony, reduce loss of lives and property, reduce violence and a lot of other vices. Under this plan, you know that you are there for one tenure and after that, you leave. Other people will come in.
“Nobody has monopoly of knowledge and this is how it should be, because by the time you remain there and there is re-election, you want to force yourself back. In the process, you use all the machinery at your disposal to fight for your return to power, which is not good enough.’’
On its part, HURIWA in a statement, described the governors’ opposition to the fund as “bizarre, unnatural and unwise” and advised President Jonathan to set up the fund’s management immediately.
HURIWA also faulted the governors’ opposition to the establishment of the sovereign wealth fund on the ground that the states need higher revenue profile to service the newly revised national minimum wage.
It tasked them to look inwards on ways and means to meet their internal statutory obligations rather than kick against a proposal which , if realised, will consolidate the nation’s economy in the coming years.
HURIWA, which endorsed the establishment of the sovereign wealth fund in a statement jointly authorised by Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Miss. Zainab Yusuf, commended the sixth session of the National Assembly for rapidly passing the bill which was subsequently signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2011.
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