ABUJA — Strong indications emerged, yesterday, that some state governments in the country lose money amounting to billions of naira as a result of fake accounts being operated, just as efforts to block leakages have yielded results in some states.
Speaking, yesterday, at the State Peer Review Mechanism, SPRM, organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, National Programme Manager of the State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability, SPARC, Dr. Joe Abah, said this blockage led to Jigawa, Kano and Enugu State governments recovering over N8.1 billion lodged in some secret bank accounts.
He, however, said despite the challenges facing the country, the state governors were making silent progress in addressing issues confronting their states.
Abah who noted that one of the measures adopted by these governors was to close down dozens of bank accounts which were conduit pipes used to siphon revenue belonging to the states to private pockets, added: “By reducing the number of bank accounts in Jigawa from 615 to 105, the Jigawa State government recovered N2 billion which it was able to put back into its budget.
“Kano reduced its own accounts from 756 to 92 and thus recovered N4.5 billion; Enugu reduced its number of accounts from 100 to 10 and was able to put back N1.6 billion into its treasury.”
Abah, who explained further that the return of unspent funds in Jigawa at the end of 2009 yielded N9.3billion which went into the state 2010 budget, said: “These are in addition to savings from removing ghost workers, improving due process in procurement, reducing the size of state debts and ensuring that gains from the debt relief granted Nigeria in 2005 by the Paris Club of Creditors are used to improve maternal and child health, fight malaria and improve water supply in various parts of the country.”
Abah explained that the SPRM which was officially launched on May 18, 2011 by the Governors Forum was a system aimed at reviewing each other’s performance and to at the end of the day design ways of learning good practices from one another.
He said: “We have issues with our governors but when all 36 of them come together like this for the common good, let us at least give them the benefit of the doubt rather than cause the ‘infant mortality’ of any good initiative through negative and uninformed reporting.”
Also speaking, a guest lecturer, Prof. Adele Jinadu, of the University of Lagos who noted that the SPRM was marshalled out after the African Peer Review Mechanism, said: “SPRM should, therefore, not be misconstrued as a score card to rate states, praising some and condemning others, reward leaders with leadership award or to attract investors.
Responding, the NGF Director General, Mr. Ashishana Okauru, explained that the training workshop was organised as part of efforts of the NGF to involve the media and ensure that they have deeper understanding of the SPRM process.