by crossriverwatch admin
Lawyer and Civil Rights Activist, Bar. Obono Obla has successfully obtained the details of financial allocations to the eighteen local government areas of Cross River State from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Abuja.
It will be recalled that in a letter dated November 9, 2012 and addressed to the Accountant General of the Federation, the lawyer had requested for access to information /record concerning the allocation of revenue from the Federation Accounts to the 18 Local Government Areas of Cross River State of Nigeria pursuant to the provisions of Section 4 subsection 1 of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
He threatened to drag the Accountant General of the Federation to Court if the records were not provided for him within seven days from the day the request was made.
But in a chat with crossriverwatch this morning, Bar. Obla said: “The Accountant General of the Federation has acceded to my application dated the 9th November 2012 hinged on Section 5(2) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 for access to information/record in respect of the monthly allocation of revenue to the 18 Local Government Area Councils of Cross River State of Nigeria from January 2008 to the 30th October 2012.
“I had finished the preparation of the case I wanted to file against the Accountant-General of the Federation for refusing to release the information sought in my application to his office before prudence on the part of the Accountant-General prevailed. Yesterday, 27th November, 2012, a delegation from the Office of the Accountant General, Treasury House, Garki, Abuja stormed my office at Utako, Abuja with five volumes;
“(1) Federal Ministry of Finance-Detailed Breakdown of Allocations to FEDERAL, STATE & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS JANUARY 2010-JULY 2011 (2) Office of the Accountant General of the Federation Federal Ministry of Finance-A Compendium of FEDERATION ACCOUNT REVENUE ALLOCATION FEDERAL, STATES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS 2009 (3) Office of the Accountant General of the Federation Federal Ministry of Finance-A Compendium of FEDERATION ACCOUNT REVENUE ALLOCATION FEDERAL, STATES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS 2004-2008.
“The booklets were accompanied by a letter with reference No. OAGF/42730/RS/VOL. 89/T/210/DF dated the 26th November 2012 signed by Samson I. Arowojolu, Deputy Director (Expenditure) for Accountant-General of the Federation addressed to me”.
Part of the letter which was obtained by crossriverwatch reads : “Barrister Okoi Obono-Obla ,Esq., I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of 9th November, 2012 on the above subject matter and to forward to you, a compendium of Revenue Allocation to Federal, States and Local Governments for the period January, 2008 to July, 2011”.
In his response, Obla told the visitors that: “I am very impressed with the Accountant General of the Federation and he should be commended and I urge all public offices and public officers to emulate the attitude of the AGF. He just relied on my letter and the information was brought right down to my office. The Freedom of Information Act is intended to help us know what government is doing. Government can no longer be a secret like it used to be”.
He called on Cross Riverians to rise up and begin to ask questions about how their monies are being spent.
He said: “we have no reason being poor. A state that receive 25 to 30 billion monthly allocations to 18 Local Governments with a population of less than three million people can do a lot if the council chairmen are effectively utilizing those resources.
“I am calling on all Cross Riverians to stand up and begin to ask questions about how these monies were spent. This is no longer time to leave this matter for Obono Obla alone. All well meaning sons and daughters of Cross River must stand up and be counted. They must begin to ask questions. When we talk they call us names, they say we talk too much. Other people should join us and call for accountability in Cross River State”.
Figures from the documents show that in the year 2009, allocations to the 18 local government councils in Cross River State was N25,539,394,806 billion less all deductions.
In 2010 the sum of N35,745,604,768 billion less all deductions, was released and in 2011 N30,996,365,390 less all deductions was also released to the 18 local government councils in Cross River State from the Federation Accounts.
When crossriverwatch asked what his next move was, Obla said: “I have written a letter already and by tomorrow it will be submitted at the EFCC. I am calling on the anti-graft body to investigate and tell the people of Cross River State where all these allocations were spent. I invite all Cross Riverians to write to the Chairman in their respective Local Government Area Council to render accounts of the allocations. I invite experts in the area of public finance and accounting to come forward and assist us unravelled what the Councils have done with such huge amounts”.
Crossriverwatch will publish details of the allocations to the respective local governments serially from Friday.
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