Governors demand $1bn to pay contractors

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Dr Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Solid Minerals Development.

From Sunday Ode, Abuja
Governors of the 36 states of the federation have demanded the release of one billion dollars from the excess crude account to enable them complete on-going projects and pay contractors.
The request by the.governors which was discussed at the National Economic Council (NEC) came in the midst of a lingering court case between the states and the federal government at the nation’s apex court.
The governors also ruled out the possibility of out-of-cout settlement of the matter as was earlier advised, saying that the decision of the court on the issue was necessary so they could know who was on the right tract.
Governors who briefed State House Correspondents after yesterday’s meeting of the National Economic Council included Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Martin Elechi (Ebonyi), Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe) and Deputy Governor of Sokoto, Mukhtar Shagari.
“Council was briefed on the state of negotiations between FG and States on the status. It was advised that negotiation should continue pending the court decision on the matter,” the governors said.
The NEC also expressed worry over the indiscriminate use of sirene by unauthorized persons and asked the National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki to liase with the authorities in the state to stop them.
The body also directed state governments to provide grazing areas for herdsmen so as to curb the incessant clashes between them and farmers.
According to Fayemi “NSA briefed Council on the establishment of security outfits in the States as part of measures of improving security in the Country.
“Issues such as establishment of vigilante group, provision of grazing land and abuse of siren were discussed
“Office of NSA should proceed to collaborate with States and expedite action as regards to stopping use of siren ’”
“States to submit preliminary action on grazing land ’”        Security agencies should ensure procurement of tracking equipment to support operation.”
According to the Ekiti governor also, Council also assured that States would be paid all works done for Federal Roads by the Federal Ministry of Works, advising that State Commissioners should  liaise with the Federal Ministry of Finance on the guideline and borrowing facilities in earnest
On the current fuel scarcity in the country, Dankwambo said council was briefed that verification of claims by the suppliers was still on-going, while payment of up to N881billion had so far been  made after verification, leaving         about N100billion still needed for settlement.
Also speaking, Shagari said council had set up a committee to look into issues of multiple taxation in the country.

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