OrderPaperToday – The Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has said the opposition by the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose to the release of N1b from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to fight boko haram is justified.
The Leader equally maintained that the ECA is an illegal entity which he has challenged in court.
Gbajabiamila stated these in a press statement he personally signed on Sunday, adding that due process was not followed by the governors in the “donation” of their portions of the funds.
He however said that there is a misunderstanding on the limitation of the power of the National Assembly on the ECA.
He noted that the responsibility of challenging the decision lies with the States Houses of Assemblies, adding that until the court ruled on the suit he filed, the account is operative.
He also said that Governors that disagreed with the donation have the right to challenge the donation, as he said that no amount of consensus is binding on the Governors.
According to Gbajabiamila: “Where the Governors have decided to “donate” some of their funds from the ECA to fight Boko Haram, their state assemblies can kick against it if such was not appropriated by them. I do agree that due process wasn’t followed by the Governors as they should have sought approval of their states’ assemblies before the donation.
“It is however not for the NASS to complain on behalf of the State Assemblies. This is part of the principle of separation of powers in a constitutional democracy. The National Assembly can only discuss the portion of the federal government money spent if any.
“On whether Gov Fayose or any other Gov has a right to kick I believe he does. No matter how inappropriate if he does not accede to the request or deduction from his state’s portion there is no amount of consensus that can bind him as postulated by the Chairman of the Governors Forum because such portion belongs to his state and not to the Governors forum. So he may be entitled to a refund.
“The ECA I have always maintained is an illegal account and I instituted a court action against it during then Jonathan administration.
“Unfortunately until a final decision has been made by the courts the account is still operative.”
On the role of the National Assembly, he stated that, “the National Assembly only has power of appropriation over monies belonging to the federal government. The ECA does not belong to the federal government but to the 3 tiers of government.
“The National Assembly cannot query how the states decide to spend their money. The only institution that can query this is the state assembly.
“There is a clear misunderstanding of the powers of the National Assembly over public funds and its limitations.”