Senate rejects probing excess crude account, seeks abolition
The Senate has thrown out a motion seeking a thorough investigation into alleged abuse of the Excess Crude Account (ECA) from 2004 to date.
It, therefore, called on the Federal Government to abolish the ECA and its Act in conformity with sections 80 (1-4) and 162 (1-3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended in its revenue receipt and expenditure.
It also mandated the executive to pay any amount above the oil benchmark into the Federation Account in compliance with the constitution, while also appropriating some parts of the amount into the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA).
In the motion tagged “The Excess Crude Account (ECA): An Illegality and a Drain Pipe” and sponsored by Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North) and 42 others, the senators asked that an ad-hoc committee be set up to investigate revenues that accrued from ECA above the oil benchmark from 2004 to date.
They also sought to know how the revenues were utilised, in addition to identifying any further infractions committed and report back within two months.
Ironically, the senators who sponsored the bill, voted against plans to investigate former Presidents when the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, who presided, put it to a voice-vote.
Oko, while presenting the motion, said, among others: “The ECA is not in tandem with sections 80 (1-4) and 162 (1-3) of the 1999 Constitution, which prescribes revenue receipts and expenditure.
“These breaches of the constitution in setting up and operating the ECA have created room for a pool of funds from revenue accruing to the federation being operated without legal backing and without any checks and balances, thereby providing loopholes for imprudence and financial recklessness.”
While Mao Ohuabunwa described the ECA as unconstitutional, Suleiman Hukunyi (APC, Kaduna) said: “Excess crude account might have been a child of circumstances. There appears to be some form of secrecy and lack of transparency in its operation.”
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