From Jefferson Ibiwale, Benin
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State has called on the Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, to constrain the federal government to show respect for the constitution by stopping all illegal deductions being made from the federation account as well as from the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria, ALGON account.
Oshiomhole made the call on Friday in Benin when he hosted a delegation of the association led by its president, Augustine Alegeh.
The governor also accused the federal government of subversion of the letter and the spirit of the constitution by deducting monies accruing to local government to pay contractors who have no contract in each of the 774 local governments, for the building of health centers.
He queried how the federal government could enter into contracts on behalf of local governments in clear contravention of the constitution while the states sit helpless.
“Today, Edo State Local Government Fund is being appropriated by the Federal Governments to pay dubious contractors and for contracts not done in Edo State. It is not only illegal, it is fraudulent and it is the height of corruption and abuse of office and the Bar should be loud and clear against this kind of abuses. I ask you to find the voice to tell while the State Bar must monitor what happens in the state, the National Bar must monitor what happens in the Villa,” Oshiomhole said.
He added that there exists a Supreme Court judgment which holds that the status of crude accounts is illegal having regards to sections of the constitution.
“The judgment of the Supreme Court was clear; you can’t keep a part of the federation account. Crude oil excess is unknown and even the concept of excess is dubious. How can you have excess at a time you are borrowing? That pronouncement is there and I want to hear the voice of the Bar on that issue and you can compel the federal government to obey the Supreme Court,” the Governor charged the association.
On his part, Alegeh promised that the NBA would act on the issues raised and ensure that the federal government operates under the rule of law.