The presidency has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of “creating an unnecessary controversy” over the bailout that President Muhammadu Buhari approved for insolvent states.
Faulting the claim of Olisa Metuh, spokesman of the PDP, that the money was taken from the savings that former president Goodluck Jonathan handed over to Buhari, Femi Adesina, special adviser to the president on media and publicity, maintained that the N400 billion that Buhari approved on Monday was taken from dividends and taxes that the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) company paid into the federation account.
He said Buhari deserves commendation for being open about government funds and taking a different approach from the past when such proceeds were not disclosed.
“The presidency deplores the attempt by the PDP and its agents to create an unnecessary controversy over the well-intentioned effort by President Muhammadu Buhari to give some relief to state governments and long-suffering public sector workers,” the statement read.
“We also reject the banal and ludicrous demand by the PDP Spokesman, Olisa Metuh that the PDP government. which was ousted by Nigerians at the last general elections for running the country aground, be given some credit for ‘saving’ the funds that were disbursed as part of the intervention package approved by President Buhari.
“Mr. Metuh’s claim that a significant amount of the funds came from savings accumulated in the excess crude account and handed over to the Buhari Administration is completely false and deliberately intended to mislead the public.
“As we clearly stated yesterday, the funds approved by President Buhari for sharing to the three tiers of government on Monday came entirely from dividends and taxes paid to the federation account by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG), not from the excess crude account.
“The disbursed NLNG dividends and taxes were paid into the federation account in June this year and confirmed by the Central Bank’s Statement to the federal government on July 7, 2015. The funds cannot therefore be considered ‘savings’ by the Jonathan administration, which left office in May, 2015, as disingenuously claimed by Mr. Metuh.
“Instead of being repeatedly impugned and castigated by the PDP and its agents for honestly telling Nigerians that the nation’s treasury has been immensely depleted and its resources looted or squandered under previous administrations, President Buhari should be commended for the openness, transparency and accountability, which he has now brought to the management of national funds.
“Mr. Metuh and others who now ungratefully see Monday’s disbursement of the NLNG proceeds as their ‘legitimate’ earnings and not a ‘bailout’ from the federal government may wish to tell Nigerians if such earnings were ever disclosed by the PDP federal government and paid to the states in the past.”