Abdulaziz Yari, governor of Zamfara state and chairman of Nigeria governors’ forum, says there is nothing wrong with the approval of $1 billion for the fight against insurgency.
Addressing reporters after a meeting at the presidential villa in Abuja, Yari said the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan got twice the amount approved for the current administration.
He said his colleagues decided to shun partisan politics when accepting that the money should be taken from the excess crude account.
“Nigeria governors forum discussed this issue at our November meeting and we agreed across party lines that this thing was done in 2014 where $2 billion was taken in agreement with the governors,” he said.
“And Governor Akpabio was the one who moved the motion at the time. This time around, we realised that there was need to purchase equipment for the military, so we felt we should not compromise the issue of security for the entire country.
“As governors, we agreed to forfeit $1 billion of our of own share of excess crude account which we are going to back up with state assembly resolution at a later time.
“This is not the first time a decision like this is being taken, it happened during Jonathan’s era. They took $2 billion. We all agreed at that time collectively in the same chamber to withdraw $2 billion to procure equipment for the military and also for logistics for the military because they were telling us, whether it was true or false that our soldiers were being killed. Some went to social media to say that they were being killed like rats because they didn’t have equipment. That was what generated discussions at the time and there was no controversy, there was no opposition.
“The $2 billion taken under Jonathan’s time did was not backed up by any resolution from the state assemblies.”
Yari also recalled how N5 billion was spent on Niger Delta during the time of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“There was this decision under Yar’Adua when they were sourcing funds for Niger Delta Power Holdings. They took over N5 billion for power generation, we followed the same process,” he said.
“The money was withdrawn from the excess crude account, and our respective houses of assembly confirmed the resolution.
“We shouldn’t play politics with the issue of national security.”
On the opposition mounted by Ayo Fayose, governor of Ekiti state, Yari said: “Gentlemen, this is democracy. Each and every person has his own way to want to look at things and you cannot stop him from agitation.”
Yari also clarified what Fayose meant by saying he did not give his consent.
“At the governors forum, 12 members form quorum. At the time we took this decision, we had 32 members in attendance and there was no single opposition to the decision,” he said.
“If anybody has his own way that he wants things to go, we had the majority and there was no even minority opinion at that meeting. We look at the country Nigeria first before any other issue, it is only when you have the country that you can have the politics.”