Nigeria: How N320bn natural resources fund was diverted – Dogara
Adamawa, May 18 (AltAfrika)-Over N320 billion meant for the development of natural resources has been diverted by the federal and state governments, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara has said.
The speaker said the money, which was under the Natural Resources Fund created in 2002 through an Executive Order by then president Olusegun Obasanjo, was spent arbitrarily without adherence to the purpose for which it was instituted.
As a result of that, the speaker said, the Natural Resources Fund had recorded little or no achievement.
The fund was given as loans to federal and state governments as well as a government agencies and private companies, Dogara said, describing the practice as “unacceptable.”
Dogara spoke when he declared open an investigative hearing by the House ad-hoc committee on the utilization of N350bn Natural Resources Fund and Federal Government investments, proceeds and leakages in solid minerals, chaired by Adamu Kamale (APC, Adamawa).
The speaker was represented at the event by the Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa (APC, Kano).
“I understand that most of the invitees here today are directly or indirectly involved in the utilization of Natural Resources Funds. Available records show that over N320bn of the Fund was utilised as loans to the Federal Government of Nigeria, states, MDAs and in some cases, private firms most times for matters unrelated to natural resources.
“This practice is unacceptable and must be corrected. I charge this ad-hoc committee to use all available legislative powers to recover the funds that are utilized illegally.
“In addition, the committee in line with the resolution of the House should come up with recommendations to safeguard further misappropriation of Natural Resources Funds and also recommend an appropriate legal framework,” the speaker said.
He said the practice of withdrawal of money from the Natural Resources Funds without authorization of the National Assembly should also be examined.
Kamale in his opening address said the committee would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that it achieved its mandate.