Akpabio Apologises To Governors Over Unverified N30 Billion Palliatives Claim

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has apologised to the state governors over his comment on the N30bn hardship allowance allegedly paid to them from the federation account.

Akpabio, during plenary last Tuesday, had said an “unverified report” indicated that state governors received N30bn each from the Federal Government to cushion the effect of inflation and high cost of food prices.

He made the comments during deliberation on the alleged N30trn Ways and Means advances  from the Central Bank of Nigeria to the former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

The Federal Government  in September last year, said N2bn was released to governors out of the N5bn loan it promised them  as a palliative to cushion the effect of the removal of fuel subsidy.

In response to the Senate President’s unverified claims, the Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, and the Akwa Ibom State government had denied receiving the N30 billion Federal Government’s cash disbursement to states to cushion the effects of the prevailing socio-economic hardship as stated by Akpabio

However, Akpabio ate the humble pie on Monday night when he apologised to the governors and regretted making the statement while relying on unverified information.

The Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Hon Eseme Eyiboh, said Akpabio held the governors in high esteem.

The statement was titled, “N30bn to state governors from unverified report: I hold governors in high esteem – Akpabio”

It reads in part, “The office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to various misconceptions in the public domain on the statement credited to the President of the Senate in plenary of Wednesday, February 21, 2024, during the presentation of a report of the joint Committees on Finance, Agriculture/Food Sufficiency, Banking and Insurance.

“During the session the President of the Senate commented on the payment of an unverified cumulative sum of about #30bn to the sub-national governments by the Federal Government for various interventions to ameliorate the food situation of our citizens at the sub-national governments.

“The unfortunate conjectures to take away the kernel in the material facts of FAAC payment are rather regretted.

“In considering the well-intended motive of urging state governments to collaborate with the Federal government of President Bola Tinubu to facilitate strategic interventions to mitigate the prevailing economic situation in the country remains the underpinning motivation in the comment.

“The President of the Senate is not oblivious to the fact that state governments are functional partners in all the efforts of the current administration of President Bola Tinubu.

“They are also valuable stakeholders’ in the various legislative engagements of the legislature in creating the nexus between the legislature and the people.

“The President of the Senate has always demonstrated commitment to team building and shall not do less in this circumstance.

“He therefore urges the sub-national governments not to be distracted by any misunderstanding of the context and true meaning of the statement.

“The President of the Senate recognises and appreciates the current efforts of the governors at ameliorating the adverse effects of the current inclement socio-economic environment and therefore invites more hands on the plow to complement the renewed hope agenda.”

Sunday Aborisade