State governors under the aegis of Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, yesterday night held its first meeting after the election of the leadership of the forum, with issues of security taking dominance. The meeting which started at past 8pm at its Secretariat, Lake Chad, Maitama, Abuja and entered into the early hours of today, had many items on the agenda for discourse, with security of the country on top of the agenda.
At the end of the meeting, the governors “resolved to set up a security committee at the National Economic Council level.”
The meeting came ahead of the inaugural National Economic Council (NEC) meeting scheduled for today, Thursday.
NEC which consist of the 36 State governors, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is the highest economic asvisory body in the land and is presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State who is the Chairman of NGF, presided over the meeting.
Addressing Journalists at the end of the meeting, Fayemi who disclosed that the forum will soon make known its stand on the issue of state police, stressed that security has been an issue of concern to citizens and the governors as well.
According to Fayemi, the Forum will “retain security as a reoccurring item on its agenda for the foreseeable and retain security as a reoccurring item in its agenda for feasible future to monitor development of security situation.”
On state police, the Ekiti State governor said, “We know that state police is an issue of interest and concern to the citizens and governors themselves and we will review it and make our position as forum known soon.”
Fayemi who also disclosed that the Forum resolved to relaunch its flagship state peer review mechanism programme designed to assist states foster good governance and accelerate the rate of development through periodic reviews of progress made by state governments.
According to him, the forum has also agreed to hold a one-day interactive session with the World Bank and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on ongoing development engagement across states on June 26th 2019, adding that the forum will also organise an IT retreat with Joint Tax Board and Chairman of Internal Revenue Service of states.
Also on the agenda is update on Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Guidelines on Local Government Funds. It would be recalled that NFIU had issued a guideline which prevents state governments from making withdrawals from local governments’ funds.
The new guideline mandates financial institutions to distribute funds accruable to local governments among the local government councils of that state and not for the other purposes, just as new financial guidelines limit cash transactions in the accounts of local governments to a daily maximum of N500, 000.
The statement had read that, ” with effect from June 1, any bank that allows any transaction from any local government account without monies first reaching a particular local government account will be sanctioned 100 per cent, locally and internationally.
“In addition, a provision is also made to the effect that there shall be no cash withdrawal from any local government account for a cumulative amount exceeding N500,000 per day.”
The meeting commenced at exactly 8.00pm with 22 states represented.
Present at the meeting are governors of Kano, Borno, Lagos, Kaduna, Sokoto,Ekiti,Kogi, Ogun, Plateau, Ondo, Jigawa, Kebbi, Ebonyi, Gombe, Bayelsa, Nasarawa, Niger and Oyo. Others are deputy governors of Enugu, Zamfara, Cross River, Imo and Katsina.