A senator, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, on Friday accused Vice President Namadi Sambo, of breaching the constitution over his failure to hold the periodic National Economic Council, NEC, meetings.
In a statement signed by his media aide, Tosin Omoniyi, Mr. Adetunmbi said Mr. Sambo’s failure to hold the council meeting for a fifth time was a neglect of duty by the Vice President. He urged President Goodluck Jonathan, and well-meaning Nigerians to call Mr. Sambo to order.
Quoting the constitution, Mr. Adetunmbi said the vice president is supposed to sit with state governors and the Governor of the Central Bank to periodically discuss issues surrounding national economy.
“The 3rd Schedule, Part 1, Section H (18) of the Constitution states inter alia, that the vice president shall have powers to advise the president concerning the economic affairs of the nation in particular the measures necessary for the economic planning efforts of the various governments of the nation.
The non-convening of these meetings constitutes a breach of the constitution and a dereliction of duty by the Vice President. It is on record that this is the 5th consecutive time that this meeting would be called and abruptly cancelled just a few days or few hours before the appointed time,” the lawmaker from Ekiti State said.
Mr. Adetunmbi, who is the Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, also noted that the absence of discussions between the Federal and state Governments had stunted the growth of the economy while creating a needless barrier in the effective coordination of the nation’s economy between both tiers of the federation.
The Nigeria Governors Forum, led by Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, had also lamented the failure of NEC to hold and abrupt cancellations of scheduled ones. The NEC statutorily headed by the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, has not met for months because of the crisis rocking the body.
The council advises the Nigerian president on the economy, particularly on measures necessary for the co-ordination of the economic planning efforts or economic programmes of the various governments of the federation. Membership of the Council, which should meet once every month, includes all state governors, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Ministers of Justice, National Planning, Finance and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
The meeting of the council slated for last December was hurriedly shelved allegedly based on reports reaching Mr. Sambo that some of the state governors were planning to confront him on some economic issues.
The governors were reportedly disturbed by the state of the economy, including the $5 billion allegedly missing from the Excess Crude Account, ECA. Another one slated for January was also cancelled less than a day before the meeting.