By Tunde oguntola, Abuja
The Niger Delta Roundtable group has strongly disagreed with the minister of Transport, Hon Rotimi Amaechi, on how much was left behind in the Excess Crude Account by the President Olusegun Obasanjo administration.
Amaechi had at an engagement with journalists, yesterday, accused the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan of squandering the ECA savings.
According to him, “When Obasanjo was leaving, he left about 65 billion dollars in the excess crude account, but this money was frittered away and we wonder where the money is.”
But the group, in a statement signed by Wilson Ejumata, accused the minister of distorting facts so they would continue to blame Jonathan for the shortcomings of the current government in the past two years.
The group said, “According to Okonjo Iweala who was the then minister of Finance when Obasanjo left office, Nigeria had only $ 9.43 billion in ECA as opposed to Amaechi’s $65bn claim.
“Contrary to Amaechi’s claim that the balance in the ECA was nowhere to be found, Okonjo Iweala had stated that the three tiers of government spent the ECA to shore up the economy and cushion the impact of global financial crisis at its height between 2008 and 2009.”
“It is also on record that Amaechi was one of the governors who spearheaded the sharing of the ECA reserve rather than growing it and went ahead to sue the federal government.”
“What did Amaechi do with the Rivers share of the ECA? Where is the money today? Is it not the same Amaechi that a panel of inquiry found guilty of embezzling billions from Rivers State accounts?”, the group asked.
According to the group, “Amaechi should immediately take his own advice and stop blaming Jonathan for his woes. After all, it is on record that it was the Jonathan administration that built the Sovereign Wealth Fund, to allow the country make savings for future generations of Nigerians and support infrastructure investments.
“What Amaechi should be worried about is the over N12 trillion that this government has spent in over two years with not even a borehole infrastructure to show for it. Yet, he led his failed government to commission a train that was financed and built by the Jonathan administration – a project they swore never existed. Face governance and leave the amiable leader, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan alone.”