… Demands explanations from Finance Minister
By Ezeocha Nzeh
The African Action Congress (AAC) has called for a full probe into yesterday’s fire outbreak at the office of the Accountant General of the federation
The party in a statement issued by its National Chairman, Leonard Nzenwa, on Wednesday, alleged a conspiracy in the manner the fire was said to have started, insisting that officials of the Federal Ministry of Finance must have some explanation to make on the surprise inferno
It added that a full investigation must be carried out the ascertain the real cause of the incident as culprits must be made to face prosecution
According to the APC, “it is outrageous and suspicious that the fire would gut the Treasury House where the Federal Accountant General’s office is located within 24hours the leadership of the National Assembly expressed concern over inappropriate handling of Coronavirus Funds and Social Investment Programme of the Federal Government, saying it lacked inclusion and geographic spread, in a meeting with the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouq in Abuja on Tuesday 7th April 2020.
It would be recalled that in same meeting, the National Assembly said it would partner with the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development in the ongoing disbursement of palliatives by the Federal Government to cushion the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on poor and vulnerable Nigerians to ensure that there is effectiveness and efficiency that those who are supposed to benefit, benefit directly as the current approach is defective.
The party regretted that the coincidence between mounting calls by Nigerians and the National Assembly to make sure that accountability, probity and transparency are effected on the Coronavirus funds, the Treasury House, housing crucial and sensitive documents relating to Government finances and COVID-19 funds which is now seem to be gutted by fire is uncanny.
“AAC demands the arrest of top management and staff in this establishment while a thorough independent investigation be set up to ascertain the immediate and remote causes of the fire. The party calls for the immediate resignation of the Minister of Finance and Budget Planning, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and suspension and arrest of the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris pending outcome of the fire investigation.
“Indeed, with this development, the trust profile of the Buhari government has further been dragged to the mud. We have succeeded in exposing ourselves as a nation run by unserious and wicked people.
“AAC insists that every kobo received from assortment of quarters relating to COVID-19 including individual, corporate, and multi-lateral and other agencies should be accounted for without delay. We have further demeaned ourselves and no financial institution whether private or governmental will lend funds to a country that burns its symbol of financial custody and accountability.
“The world is watching Nigeria with consternation now. It is a big shame that the fire occurred when Nigerians are querying the COVID-19 funds disbursement particularly the purported conditional cash transfer to poorest and vulnerable Nigerians.
“The Minister of Finance and Budget Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, should quickly explain to Nigerians what led to the fire at Treasury House and give account of the #2 trillion relating to COVID-19 and other finances received and disbursed by the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus before resigning.
“The way and manner the COVID-19 funds have so far been managed raise a lot of suspicion. Many Nigerians do not trust the custodian of these funds especially as they are government officials, insisting with this development more is required to engender trust from the populace to successfully prosecute war against COVID-19.”