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“You Are Shameless Liar”, Presidency Tells Ezekwesili

The presidency has said the former minister of Education and former Vice President of the World Bank in charge of Africa, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili has goofed by consistently lying about the foreign exchange reserve.
The Presidency described as a “deliberate dissemination of falsehood, unsubstantiated and malicious claims” when the former Minister alleged that Late Former President Musa Yar’Adua and President Goodluck Jonathan squandered a total sum of $67 Billion from the Foreign Exchange Reserve.
Tendering a Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, document at a press briefing in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe said, as at May 2007, a total of $43,130,301,995.21 was left behind in the Foreign Exchange Reserve account by former President Obasanjo.
According to Okupe, between June 2007 and December 2008, the FER stood at $53,000,355,063.51, in 2009, the account came down to $42,382,493,319.69, due to the global economic meltdown. In 2010 the account was $32,339,252,389.10 after the commitment of the Federal Government to the IPP project and the Niger Delta crisis which caused a drop in oil export.
In 2011, the figure was N32, 639,777,078.09 while in 2012 the FER rose to $43,830,418,364.91 as at December and then rose again to $45.3 Billion as at January 22, 2013.
Dr. Okupe stressed that, “I regret to say that Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili should show dignity and character by letting the Nigerian people, whom she sort out to fool, to know the source of her figures otherwise, she should be honourable enough to retract her statement and apologize to the government and people of Nigeria. Else, she should be regarded by all as a willfully perjured individual not worthy of any respect or recognition whatsoever”.
“We find it surprising that after an extensive explanation by the Hon. Minister of Information whereby facts were stated regarding the weighty and sweeping statements made by Mrs. Oby Ezekewsili, rather than cite the sources and establish the credibility of her figures has decided to divert attention from the issues she raised by calling for a National debate on issues that are not in contention.
“Ordinarily, the call by Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili for a National Debate with the Minister of Information ought to have been ignored and allowed to fall flat. However, we are compelled to respond in view of the penchant by some highly placed Nigerians who use government offices to build up reputations for themselves and then later turn on the same government to denigrate it, just to play to the gallery and incite members of the public through dissemination of false, unsubstantiated and malicious information.
“Rather than substantiate her claims, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili chooses conveniently to grandstand, claiming that she will remain silent until “a responsible response” is given to her demand on accountability. A more rational approach would have been for her, being the Accuser or Agent Provocateur to assume the responsibility of providing the facts to back her claims.
According to Dr Okupe, while Minister of Information has debunked the statement is manifestly untrue and not based on any fact.
He said the facts are as follows:
“The money spent on running the Government is what the CBN remits to the Federation which is then shared by the three tiers of government i.e. Federal, State and Local Government.
“The corresponding allocation to the Federal Government based on the approved benchmark is then dispensed by the Federal Government and the MDAs according to the items specified and approved by the National Assembly in the Budget of that year.
“The unspent balance plus income from other income from exports other than oil constitutes the Nation’s foreign reserve, a portion of which is kept as the excess crude oil reserve.
“The latter is shared periodically by the three tiers of government on need to spend basis.
According to Dr. Okupe, “it is factually incorrect to say that the reserves of the government were dipped into or misapplied. It is important to note that the Federal Government does not dip its hands into the external reserves. External reserves are available for use in settling both public and private sector foreign currency obligations of Nigeria. Whenever a ministry or agency of government needs to incur approved expenditures in foreign currency (e.g. payment of goods and services, settlement of external debt etc.) it must provide the naira equivalent to the Central Bank of Nigeria before the Bank sells the required foreign currency. The same applies to the private sector.
The management of external resources (also known as foreign reserves) is one of the statutory mandates of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Section 2 sub-section (c) of the CBN Act 2007 states that the Bank shall “maintain external reserves to safeguard the international value of the legal tender currency”. Therefore, foreign reserves are used to support a broad range of national objectives such as defending the naira. It also serves as a buffer especially during periods of crisis.
“It is obviously preposterous for Mrs. Oby Ezekwesili to be asking for a National debate on the outlandish and reckless disinformation she made to incite the Nigerian people against the government. This was a deliberately calculated, albeit unsuccessful effort to bring the Jonathan Administration into disrepute unjustifiably”, Dr. Okupe maintained.
House Of Reps Divided Over Dual Indigene Bill
A Bill seeking to restrict women from claiming dual Indigeneship by choosing only one in the event of appointment or elective office, Tuesday, caused sharp division between the male and female lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
Though the Federal Character Commission (FCC) Act currently allows a married woman to lay claim to her husband’s state of origin when applying for any appointment, the controversial bill seeks to amend the Federal Character Commission laws to enable women lay claim to only their state of origin or marriage .
When the bill sponsored by Hon Bassey Ewa came up for the second reading, Tuesday, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, however mandated the committees on Rules and Business, Judiciary and Justice to take a cursory look at the legal and other aspects of the bill for proper guidance.
Speaking on the intention of the bill expected to be voted on, Wednesday, Ewa refered to the controversy surrounding the nomination of Justice Ifeoma Jumbo-Offor as a Justice of the Supreme Court representing Anambra State.
He described a situation where a woman’s career opportunity is hampered by her choice of state of origin as discriminatory, stating that, “marriage should not be a barrier to their (women) development and growth in their careers but rather, should be a catalyst for them to make progress.”
He said, “They should be given the right to choose which state to pick from.”
His observation came as Hon Andrew Uchendu pointed out that a definite provision should be made for women whether to choose from their state of origin or their husband’s states.
“What you do for the goose you must also do for the gander because a man can only lay claim to his state of origin. We are talking about equal opportunities so they should also choose one,” he said.
But majority of the female lawmakers argued against the bill that they were being discriminated against and asked for the law to be amended to give them the option to choose.
“We want to choose the state where we want to come from. Because a man is married and has given a man her body and mind doesn’t mean that she wants to give up her right to choose where she wants to represent,” Hon Nnenna Elendu Ukeje stated.
In the same vein, Hon Nkoyo Toyo, cautioned that “the concept of husband has to be treated cautiously.”
According to her,” We pride ourselves as a progressive House of Representatives, so we have to show it by our actions, decisions…we should show concern in areas of disadvantage.”
However, the debate on the bill was deferred after Hon Samson Osagie warned that the clamour to amend the constitution to address the issue of indigeneship would amount to discrimination to place a particular place for women to choose from.

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