Nigeria News

Stop Harassing Sanusi, Kwankwaso Warns FG

Kano State Governor Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso Saturday came in strong support of Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi over the latter’s stance on the controversial Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation unremitted funds, saying there was nothing wrong in the “CBN Governor’s request for clarification of figures.” The governor’s position was made known at the inauguration of the National Tomato Technical Working Groups at the Kano State Government House, Kano. Kwankwaso said: “Let me use this opportunity to call on the federal government to desist from harassing our citizen. Here I am referring to our son, the CBN Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. “There is nothing wrong when the CBN governor said, please check these figures. He should be seen as a friend not an enemy”. The Kano governor said CBN governor was not just an ordinary citizen of Kano, and called on the federal government to also acknowledge his status as a blue blood. “He is somebody who is apt and dares to speak at any appropriate time not minding whose ox is gored”. Turning to Sanusi, the governor said, “we will continue to give you all the necessary support anywhere, anytime.” Kwankwaso’s challenge came against the backdrop of the emerging political differences between the Federal Government and the state administration following his defection to the rival All Progressive Congress (APC). Sources said the governor’s backing to Sanusi might be a morale booster for the apex bank chief who is expected back in Kano at the expiration of his tenure in June. Kwankwaso explained that he deemed it necessary to intervene by creating the tomato processing technical working group because of the increasing losses suffered by the farmers in the state. He promised that his administration would give all the necessary cooperation for the newly-established technical working group for tomato processing. Meanwhile, in his remark, the CBN governor observed that Nigeria was ripe for a zero-decay regime for tomato processing environment, adding that the country must stand up to see to the end of wastages in that regard. Sanusi noted that 50% of tomato produced in Nigeria is being wasted due to poor processing and marketing strategies. He said Nigeria was the second in Africa and 13th in the world in tomato farming, saying all hands must be on deck in order to make tomato farming a more beneficial venture. The CBN Governor had, in a letter to President Jonathan alleged the failure of the Nigerian National Corporation to remit $49.8bn (about N8tn) oil proceeds to the Federation Account between January 2012 and July 2013 in contravention of extant laws. He said the amount represented 76 per cent of the value of crude oil lifting during the period. Later, at the end of a reconciliation meeting with the NNPC and other agencies, the CBN governor and the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala claimed the bulk of the money was not missing, but that about $10.8billion was yet to be accounted for. The NNPC however claimed, that the missing $10.8 billion was spent on oil subsidy payments, repairs of vandalised oil pipeline facilities and operational costs. The climax of the controversy was the attempt of the Presidency to force Sanusi to quit office six months to the expiration of his tenure in June. After a wave of public opinion against the punitive measure, the Presidency was said to have rescinded its decision by allowing the CBN Governor to serve his term. Also on Friday, Sanusi insisted that the NNPC had no right retaining $10.8 billion oil revenue, saying it contributed to the drop in savings “that left the nation exposed to possible price shocks.” According to him, “No one has the right to retain money that should have gone to the federation account; so the fact that you’ve admitted retaining or withholding $10 billion is itself bad enough. This money was supposed to come in and if it came in, it would be part of our reserves and part of our excess crude savings.”

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