The Federal Government, yesterday, through the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, reacted to comments by the former Minister of Education, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, alleging that the governments of presidents Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, squandered $67 billion in foreign reserve, describing the allegation as “outlandish and clearly fictitious.”
Maku further accused the former World Bank Vice-President (Africa) of betraying a surprisingly limited understanding of government finances in her comments at the Convocation lecture of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
He noted: “These statements are even more curious in the light of the fact that she has held senior positions in government, and more recently, a position as a Vice President of the World Bank. However, rather than speculate about her motives, we would focus on the facts.”
However, responding to Maku’s attack, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili challenged officials of the Federal Government to a public debate.
On allegations that she mismanaged funds meant for the education sector during her 10 months as Education Minister, Mrs Ezekwesili said: “I Challenge them to a public debate of facts regarding 2007 Excess Crude Account (ECA) and foreign reserve and last five and half years oil revenue.”
Still expressing her views on Twitter on Sunday in messages with the hashtag, “Nothing but Accountability”, Ezekwesili said: “In 2007, the incoming Administration was handed $45Billion in Foreign Reserve plus $22Billion. Let Mr. Maku go further. As a citizen all I want to know is the Mathematics of the ECA and the Foreign Reserve. I demanded accountability and that’s all a citizen asks of government. I will not stop asking for accountability.”