One Refund, Four Conflicting Figures

Udom Emmanuel
Udom Emmanuel

The controversy generated by the refunds of money to Akwa Ibom State Government over federal roads it constructed has reached a ridiculous height owing to various figures bandied by different government officials.

Senator Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, had stoked the fire by saying that the Federal Government had refunded N78.2 billion to the Akwa Ibom State Government over federal roads it constructed over the years during the era of Godswill Akpabio.

Shortly, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-eyen, the Commissioner for Works, refuted the claim, telling journalists that the Federal Government refunded N20 billion of the money to the government.

Again, Mr. Linus Nkan, the state Commissioner for Finance in his budget analysis on Monday, December 30, 2019, differed with Enang that the Federal Government had refunded N17 billion to the state government.

However, Governor Udom Emmanuel admitted during the presentation of the 2020 budget to Akwa Ibom House of Assembly that he had collected N50 billion of the refunds, saying he wanted to be advised on how to prosecute the fund.

To further accentuate his claim, Ita Enang alleged that the state government is taking the people of the state for granted and making them look stupid by the way it has been keeping away financial information. The Presidential Aide noted that since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office, all financial transactions are tracked and monitored by the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).

Speaking via telephone on a live radio programme on Inspiration FM, Uyo, Enang claimed to know the bank and account detail used in transferring the money to the state government.

“Let Governor Udom Emmanuel and the Finance Commissioner, Mr. Linus Nkan not dare me. If they do, I will release the details of the bank and account to which the N78.2 billion was paid. I will also expose the bank and accounts which the state government used to disburse the funds.”

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On the suggestion that the state government claims to have received N20 billion as total amount refunded on the federal roads it constructed, Enang said “It was the Commissioner for Works who said that he got N20 billion of the money from the governor to apply to a certain project. So, he didn’t say only N20 billion was paid. He claimed that N20 billion was given to him.”

The Senator advised interested Akwa Ibom person to contact NFIU to get more information on the bank and value of how N78.2 billion was paid by the federal government.

Despite the conflicting figures bandied by government officials, Akwa Ibom people, the owner of the money, are still kept in the dark on the exact figure that entered the government’s kitty.

Apart, some people concentrate on the amount (refunded or remaining), yet they do not ask the government to account for the money (or if used), for what project or service or when will it be used for the overriding benefit of the masses?