The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) condemned in strong term the activities of the Budget Office of Federation for alleged misuse of N4.9bn from the contingency funds of the Federal Government.
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts, on Tuesday, had queried the alleged misuse of the fund as it investigated the report of the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in the disbursement of money from the fund.
A breakdown of the expenditure the committee queried showed that N1.2bn was earmarked to the Presidential Projects Assessment Committee to work for three months, N337m was voted for the settlement of outstanding liabilities while the Ministry of Finance got N410m for capacity building.
Another $775, 000 was set aside as contribution to the Economic Community of West African States. Budget Office of the Federation spent N59.9m to produce and circulate a magazine called (Servant Leader Magazine’ and another N300m on the 2010 World Cup. N75m was captured as lobbying for the FG in Washington DC, while the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) got N257m as consultancy fee.
Reacting to the news, the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Debo Adeniran, averred that the endemic corruption pervading the budget office of the federation is very worrisome.
“It is very unfortunate that the budget office and the Auditor General office could hold the whole country to ransom without caution from any quarter. It is high time the presidency and the lawmakers address the rot that is bedeviling the budget office. Spending our common patrimony on white elephant projects is becoming unbearable and an end must come to it. This explained why substantial increase in the revenue flowing into the government coffers has not translated into substantial development. Nigeria is ranked 142 out of 169 poorest countries in the world due to abject poverty ravaging the nation despite being bestowed with human and capital resources. Her citizens are suffering from administrative neglect, crumbling social infrastructure and services, high unemployment, social deprivation and endemic conflict. Nigerians are frustrated that they cannot legitimately benefit from the revenues government often makes declaration of. It is very ridiculous that some people could fritter away such huge amount from the nation’s coffers without any improvement on the standard of living of the Nigerian masses,” Adeniran stated.
Meanwhile, Adeniran commended the House of Representatives for its move to investigate the allegations and urged the committee saddled with the investigation to beam its searchlight on the individual and agencies that were directly or indirectly involved in the shenanigans and hand over the report to the anti-graft agencies for proper prosecution.
“Nigerians want to know the agencies and individuals that benefited from the disbursement, because no well-meaning Nigerian will overlook the escalating rate of financial recklessness being perpetrated by the crop of people in this present government and anyone who is found to have soiled his hand should be tried appositely.”