The Eminent Elders’ Forum (EEF), a group of prominent Nigerians, has lamented that the 36 state governments have drained Nigeria’s resources with the monthly allocation and collection of security vote.
The group stated this in a document dated February 2, 2021, and addressed to Senator Ahmed Lawan, the Senate President, on the ongoing reform of the 1999 constitution. The document was made available to Newsbreak on Wednesday.
The document entitled: “Proposals for restructuring of Nigeria using the 1963 constitution as a template”, was jointly signed by Senator Ibrahim Mantu, Chairman of EFF and a former deputy Senate president; Dr. Akin Fapohunda, EFF Secretary; and Professor Echefuna Onyebeadi, Convener of EFF.
According to the EFF, the monthly fund “runs into billions of naira and vary based on the level of security required by the individual state”.
But citing the comments made by Agboola Ajayi, the immediate past deputy governor of Ondo State, the group noted that the disbursement of the money for security seems to only be in name. It insinuated that the fund is, instead, being utilised for political exigencies rather than to secure the lives and properties of all resident in the various states.
Providing a breakdown of each state based on their geopolitical zone, the group said Delta State collects an estimated N2 billion monthly, summing up to N24 billion annually. This makes the state the highest spender of the security vote in the South-South region and Nigeria as a whole.
The least in the region is gotten by Cross River State with N500 million monthly, equalling N6 billion on an annual basis.
The highest spender in the South-West region is Lagos State, which collects N1.429 billion monthly for what is termed as “public order and safety”, and also collects an additional N132.5 million monthly for “social protection”. This amounts to N17.149 billion given to the state on an annual basis. Ogun State receives the least in the region with an estimated N80-100 million, totalling N960 million to N1.2 billion annually.
Anambra State receives the highest security vote in the South-East region with N850 million monthly, totalling N10 billion annually; while Enugu State collects the least with N600 million monthly, amounting to N7.2 billion annually.
The North-Central region’s highest receiver is Benue State, which gets N3.092 billion as monthly allocation for “personnel and overhead costs monthly which cover security vote”, equalling N37.1 billion annually. Nasarawa State receives the least in the region with N100 million monthly, summing up to N1.2 billion annually.
Kaduna State collects the highest in the North-West region with N400 million monthly as “security vote” and N225 million monthly as “security vote (preventive and supportive) for the SSG’s office”, amounting to N4.8 billion annually. Katsina State gets the least in the region with N17.583 million monthly, totalling N211 million annually.
Bauchi State receives the highest in the North-East region with N1.417 billion monthly, totalling N17 billion annually; while Taraba State gets the least with N200 monthly, accumulating to N2.4 billion on an annual basis.
While admitting that the figures presented are not officially verifiable, the EFF noted that the statement credited to the former Ondo deputy governor indicates that the accurate figures are not far-off.
“But if the recent public statement out of Ondo State quoted below is countenanced, the true position of public expenditure on this item is not far-fetched. The Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Hon Agboola Ajayi, and the governorship candidate of Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) has alleged that Governor Rotimi Akeredolu collects N750 million monthly as security vote.
“The deputy governor who had recently fallen out with the governor was reacting to the utterance by the governor claiming he (Ajayi) receives the highest running grant of N13m monthly which is the highest in the country by any deputy governor and yet betrayed him,” the document read.