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Food Security: FG Didn’t Give States N30b Each, Makinde Replies Akpabio

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has faulted the claims by Senate President Godswill Akpabio that states got an additional N30 billion each to address food scarcity. 


A file photo combination of Senator Akpabio and Governor Makinde.

 

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State has faulted the claims by Senate President Godswill Akpabio that states got an additional N30 billion each to address food scarcity. 

Akpabio had made the comment some days back but at the commissioning of a newly renovated Iseyin Central Mosque provided by an Iseyin-born legal icon Ahmed Raji (SAN),  Makinde said Oyo State did not get such funds.

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“This is not the time to play politics, as we have real issues that deserve real solutions. But yesterday, I saw the video and read in the news where the Senate President, Sen. Godswill Akpabio, made a statement, though he said it was an unverified report, stating that the state governments received an additional N30 billion from the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, outside of our statutory allocation, in the last few months, to address food security,” Governor Makinde said on Thursday.

“Please, listen to me loud and clear. I can speak for Oyo State and can also speak for any of my colleagues. This is because, as the Vice Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, I know when things are happening.

“If I want to play politics, I will keep quiet and let this slide, but I am not going to let this slide. FIRS cannot give money to any state. It is not possible. All revenues accruing to the country go into the federation account and it is distributed to all tiers of government. The FG does not give states money.

“The money in the federation belongs to all of us; it does not only belong to the Federal Government. So, if the Senate President, who is the number three citizen in this country, could be quoting an unverified report, people are looking at us as leaders. This is the period that we are supposed to give confidence to our people. It is not the period to start playing politics or to start looking for scapegoats.

“We need to engage with our people. If our policies are not working, we need to listen to the people and amend them. So, if the number three citizen had nothing but an unverified report, why did he need to say it?

“Does his statement give confidence to the people or solve the problem of hunger and anger in the land? Let me say it clearly: as for Oyo State and most of my colleagues, there is nothing like N30 billion being given to states for food security and I stand to be challenged.

“Yes, the Federal Government promised the states N5 billion, and out of that, it only gave N2 billion and they are even asking that the N2 billion should be refunded right now.”

Makinde added that his government has been doing its best to mitigate the hardship on residents of the state, having been the first to announce and implement measures to cushion the effect of the hardship through the Sustainable Action for Economic Recovery (SafER).

“This is a very difficult period in our nation’s history because all of us are aware of what we are going through economically. But for us as an administration, I can say we are the first in Nigeria to announce and implement measures on the 9th of June 2023, to cushion the effect of this policy through SAfER.

“We have been doing our bit. And the reason I came here is for us to talk to ourselves and intensify prayers. So, this is one of the edifices through which we can reach God, though we have done our bit.

“We have health insurance for our own people, we gave farm inputs to our farmers but, at this stage, we need to cry to God. For the workers, we have been paying a wage award; N25,000 for workers and N15,000 for pensioners, and we have paid for close to six months.

“Only last week, I announced an extension for another six months so that we can have the time to conclude the discussion on minimum wage. Well, we know there is much to be done and we will continue to do everything within our power to support our people through this hard time,” Makinde added.

“It is the responsibility of the Federal Government to manage the fiscal situation in Nigeria and manage the inflationary trend we have in the country right now. We have been transparent about everything we are doing here and this is the time for us to stay together as a nation to solve the problems we are facing. It is not the time to engage in blame games and propaganda. Hunger and anger are real and, as leaders, we must address them,” the governor said.