- FG, States, Others Diverted N320bn Natural Resources Fund – Dogara
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday disclosed how the Federal Government, states and private organisations allegedly diverted N320bn from the Natural Resources Fund over the years.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo had, through an Executive Order, created the fund in 2002 for the purpose of developing the country’s natural resources.
But, the Speaker said as much as N320bn was diverted from the fund to projects that were totally unconnected with the objective of setting it up.
Dogara spoke during the opening of a public hearing by the House Ad Hoc Committee on the Utilisation of N350bn Natural Resources Fund and Federal Government Investments, Proceeds and Leakages in Solid Minerals at the National Assembly.
The committee was chaired by a member of the All Progressives Congress from Adamawa State, Mr. Adamu Kamale.
The Speaker, who was represented by the Chief Whip of the House, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, alleged that the Federal Government, states and private firms resorted to borrowing from the fund for other reasons, thereby defeating the aim of creating it.
He noted, “I understand that most of the invitees seated here today are directly or indirectly involved in the utilisation of the Natural Resources Fund.
“Available records show that over N320bn of the Natural Resources Fund was utilised as loans to the Federal Government of Nigeria; states; Ministries, Departments and Agencies; and in some cases, private firms, most times for matters unrelated to natural resources.
“This practice is unacceptable and must be corrected. I charge this ad hoc committee to use all available legislative powers to recover the funds that are utilised illegally.
“In addition, the committee, in line with the resolution of the House, should come up with recommendations to safeguard further misappropriation of the Natural Resources Fund, and also recommend an appropriate legal framework.”