Civil Society Organizations from various parts of the southeast and Nigeria, under the aegis of Southeast Democracy Clinic, have consistently monitored the management of public resources by the present and past southeast governors. The secret nature of handling public resources as well as personalization of decisions on public resources has made southeast development to heavily suffer stagnation and in some cases retrogression. Since 1999, there have been several scandals that bother on fraud; waste and abuse of resources belonging to one southeast state or another. It has been observed also that the budget process in the southeast is exclusive of citizens except in Enugu and Anambra where reforms have started but has not gained strong roots. Till date, no southeast governor, who collected the salary bailout funds has been able to clearly account for how it was spent.
Recently, news went out, which has been confirmed, that southeast governors along with other states governors received huge sum of cash from the Paris Club fund. This secret release by Federal government is against the spirit of anti-corruption and accountability. However, soon after the release, scandals and rumors are rife of how governors have secretly started wasteful and white elephant projects as means of converting major part of the funds to their personal use and the use of their cronies. In the midst of the release of these funds and the rumours that are associated with it, the southeast region is still suffering from huge development challenges and gaps. As stakeholders in the southeast development projects we have undertaken not to further neglect our role of promoting accountability for faster development of the southeast:
We painfully observed the following:
- That this fund was secretly released to state governors by federal government.
- That it took several months for this secret release to be leaked to citizens
- That in secretly releasing the fund, some form of agreement was reached between the governors and federal government without knowledge and participation of citizens
- That upon receipt of this Paris Club cash, no southeast governor made attempts to bring it to the notice of their states or the public
- That the time this fund was purportedly released was outside the budget timeframe of the states and no information was received on any supplementary budget.
- That in the era of foreign exchange instability, secret utilization of such funds will not allow citizens to know the true worth of the fund released to them.
- That about the following sum of money was received by each of the southeast states from the Paris Club Cash: Imo state- $185,451,792.92million, Anambra state – $162,163,091.98million, Abia state – $151,410,816.39million, Enugu state – $126,432,758.86million and Ebonyi state $119,419,427.28 million.
- The above figures show that the southeast states of Imo, Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi and Abia received a cumulative total of $744,877,887.43 million. (Seven hundred and forty four million, eight hundred and seventy seven thousand, eight hundred and eight seven dollars, forty three cents.
- At the official exchange rate of N350 to a dollar, southeast region received a total of N260 billion, an amount that if judiciously used can lift the marginalized southeast up.
- That such huge release if properly utilized in this era of total marginalization of the southeast can turn around the fortunes of the southeast which has suffered series of internal and external neglect since the return of democracy in 1999.
- That the inability to make the release of these funds public is an indication that it may not be properly utilized to solve some of the development challenges of southeast.
- That the federal government entered into some agreements with the governors on how they should utilize the funds. Neither federal government or state government has been able to reveal
- That there are outstanding releases that are yet to be made from federal government to the states.
We demand the following from all the governors of southeast Nigeria:
- Public announcement of the total Paris Club Cash received
- Publication of the agreement entered into with federal government on the utilization of the funds
- Detailed publication of expenditure plan or accountability of the funds if it has been already expended. To enable citizens track the projects and values they have generated
- Detailed publication of projects, locations and contractors that were awarded the projects for citizens monitoring of the implementation.
- Disclose the rate which they exchanged the amount they received.
- Regular update of the utilization of that fund.
We make this demand believing that southeast governors have the responsibility of ensuring that they judiciously use the allocations to the region to cushion the effects of both federal marginalization and the current economic recession. If our demands are not met within one month, the Civil Society Organizations will consider statutory accountability options and other legal avenues to stimulate the desired citizens’ accountability in southeast Nigeria.
Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights
Dr Chima Amadi
Independent Services Delivery Monitoring Group
Youth Forum for Social Change
Prince Chris Azor
International Peace and Civic Responsibility Centre
Dr. Walter Chike Duru
Media Initiative Against corruption
Engr Amaka Biachi
African Centre for Human Advancement and Resource Support
Centre for Peace and Environmental Justice
Imo Belie Initiative
Grassroots Development Initiative
Oguta, Imo state
Dr. Kelechi Okezie
Neighborhood Environment Watch Foundation
Devine Era Social Development Initiative
Habitatcare and Development Initiatives
Bar Eze Eluchie
People Against Drug Dependence and Ignorance – PPADI
African Centre for Entrepreneurship and Information Development
Publish What You Pay – Anambra
Victoria Ebere Eze
Participatory Development Alternatives
For: Public Interest Coalition –Imo chapter.
Emeka J. Ononamadu
Citizens Center for Integrated Development & Social Rights
30 Mbari street, Ikenegbu Layout, Owerri,
Imo state, Nigeria
P.O Box 7338, Aladinma, Owerri
Mobile phone: 234 (0) 8037423140, 07042055965
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Skype account: emeka.ononamadu