By EMEKA MAMAH
LAGOS – Citizens’ Right Initiative Project, CRIP, has said that the nation lost about N794.65 billion during the six- day nation-wide protest over increase in the pump price of petrol, adding that what Nigerians fought against was price fixing, and not deregulation.
CRIP queried the unilateral ‘’drawing down of the $32 billion in the excess crude account by the Federal Government, contrary to the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007,” adding that was the beginning of the current economic problems facing the country.
Acting Director of CRIP, Mr. Friday Udoh, in a statement, said: ‘’Nigerians must be ready to hold the leadership of this country accountable for all their actions, especially on who was responsible for the unwarranted action that brought about the strike, which has cost the nation dearly.
‘’We lost N794.65 billion within the last five days of the national strike, not N500 billion as announced by the Central Bank Governor, Lamido Sanusi. The window of opportunity opened when the Excess Crude Oil Account was at about $32 billion before the spending and eventually drying up of the account.”
“This was contrary to the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. Someone must be held responsible for it. ‘The Act never envisaged withdrawals from that account in the manner it was handled on several occasions since 2007. No government in the federation shall have access to the savings made pursuant to 35(2) of this section, unless the reference commodity price falls below the per-determined level for a period of three consecutive months.
“The wording of that sub-section of the Act is unambiguous, and governments at every level are to enforce laws and regulations of the land. There had been no fluctuation of crude price in international market to warrant the squeezing of this account; not even for constructing of critical infrastructure,” he added.