Reasons for strong opposition against the sudden decision of the federal government to dip hands into the Excess Crude Account (ECA) and move $1bn for fighting Boko Haram insurgency have emerged from the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas.
This is based on the revelation of the Theatre Commander who made it public recently that “the Nigerian army has completely defeated the Boko Haram insurgents”.
Nicholas stated this during the inauguration of the Nigeria-Cameroun Military Joint Mission on Saturday in Maiduguri.
According to him, Nigerian troops under the operation DEEP PUNCH II had on Friday dislodged and occupied the insurgents’ tactical ground ‘Camp Zero’.
The success caused hundreds of insurgents to surrender as several others fled their enclave while over 100 civilians were rescued.
Gen. Rogers Nicholas averred that “My soldiers are in the heart of Boko Haram enclave that is ‘Camp Zero’, the gallant troops have taken total control of Sambisa Forest”.
“We have broken the heart and soul of Shekau’s group, taking over the camp and environs.
“They are on the run and we are pursuing them to wherever they go. This time around there is no place for escape anywhere.
“We had earlier asked those of them that want to surrender to do so and we are still asking them to come out and surrender otherwise they are going to meet it the hard way”.
Before now, the federal government had approached the Senate to ask for the authority to dip hands into the ECA that currently stood at above N2bn to fight Boko Haram.
However, several opposition have trailed the move.
First oil producing states governors lead by Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Henry Seriake Dickson, argued that “Before any fund will be moved from the ECA, the statutory 13 per cent for oil producing community must be deducted and shared according to the existing formula”.
His position had been endorsed by all the nine oil producing states who noted that using any money from the ECA without deducting the 13 per cent amounts to wrongful use and illegal because the fund comes oil which is produced in their state.
The states in unison, argued that hence 13 per cent is deducted from the oil earnings meant for sharing among the states, any use of the ECA must follow suit because the law says that derivation policy must be complied on any form of use from the oil earnings.
At the National Assembly, the matter also raised serious dust as the members were divided on the matter.
Whereas many of them from non-oil producing states queried the rationale for the 13 per cent deduction, all of them from producing area concurred.
However, with the clarification given by the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas, may have collapse any further move for the release of the money for fitghing insurgency as the commander has technically noted that there is no need after all.