…As Governors approve $1b oil cash to fight Boko Haram ***
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) says a total of 1,317 Nigerians have voluntarily returned from Libya in the last 10 days having been stranded in the volatile country enroute Europe.
The Director-General of NEMA, Alhaji Mustapha Maihajja, made the disclosure while receiving a fresh batch of 116 Nigerians who arrived the country on Friday morning.
The new set of returnees arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos aboard a Buraq Airlines with Registration Number 5A-WAC at about 5.39a.m.
No fewer than 3,000 Nigerians have voluntarily returned from Libya through the IOM supported programme in the last few months.
Maihajja, represented by Alhaji Suleiman Yakubu, the South-West Zonal Coordinator, said that the Nigerians returned in various batches between Dec.5 and Dec.15 with the assistance of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU).
According to him, the figure has already surpassed the 1, 295 Nigerians who voluntarily returned from Libya in the month of November.
Maihajja said that the Federal Government would continue to work with the international organisations to ensure the return of more Nigerians from Libya where they had been facing severe hardships and rights violations.
They comprised 46 adult females, 60 adult males and 10 children and infants respectively.
Also, on ground to welcome the returnees were officials of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and Police.
In the meantime, Governors yesterday backed the Federal Government’s plan to spend $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight the Boko Haram insurgency.
Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki broke the news to State House correspondents at the end of the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
With him were Gombe State Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo and Minister of Water Resources Suleiman Adamu.
Obaseki said: “The NEC also resolved through the chairman of the Governors Forum to support the effort of the Federal Government in the area of security. Pleased with the achievements that have been made till date in the fight against insurgency, particularly in the Northeast, the governors of Nigeria through their chairman announced at the NEC meeting that the governors have given permission to the Federal Government to spend the sum of $1billion in the fight of insurgency.
“This money is supposed to be taken from the Excess Crude Account,” he added.
Obaseki said the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) was planning a retreat for secretaries to state governments – to have an alliance with states.
“This retreat will hold from the 18th to 19th of December and he implored all governors to ensure that all SSGs attend this retreat,” he said.
According to him, the Council also discussed the fuel scarcity in some part of the country.
“The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources assured council that within the next 48hours fuel supply will be restored nationwide because there is enough fuel in our strategic reserves and the ministry has released fuel from these reserves and it expects distribution will reach all part of the country within the next 48hours.”
Damkwabo said that some of the issues considered at the meeting included updates from the forensic audit of revenue that accrued into the federation account up to 2015.
As a follow-up to the report that was submitted during NEC last month, he said that the Council was informed that KPMG was still conducting the audit of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).
“Hopefully, by January 2018, these audits will be concluded and reports will be submitted to the council,” the governor said.
He said that Council was also informed by the Accountant General of the Federation that the balance in the Natural Resource Development Fund Account as at 13th December stood at N106.984 billion.
According to Dankwambo, the Accountant General of the Federation also informed Council that the balance in the Excess Crude Account as at 13th December 2017 stood at $2.317billion.
He added: “Update of the current balance of the Stabilisation Fund account was also reported by the Accountant General of the Federation, which as at 13th of December 2017 stands at N7.78billion.
“Update on budget support facility loan granted to states was also reported to council and that for the month of June,July and August, some states have been paid and the Federal Ministry of Finance is working on the payment of the month of September budget support.
“The Minister of Finance informed Council that the budget support facility to states is also based on certain conditions as agreed under the fiscal responsibility plan, but she complained that most states are yet to comply and added that non compliance will make her ministry stop to give states that do not comply.”
With additional report from Nation