Posted by News Express | 9 February 2016 | 2,557 times
The Senate Committee on Federal Character yesterday walked out officials who represented the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), following the failure of their bosses to appear before the committee to defend their 2016 budgets proposals.
Chairman of the committee, Senator Tijjani Yahaya Kaura, alongside members of the panel who were angered by the absence of the SGF, Babachir David Lawal, and FRSC boss, Boboye Oyeyemi, described their failure to appear before the committee as “unacceptable.”
According to him, the budget defence of their respective establishments before the committee was all too important to be treated with any amount of levity.
The lawmaker threatened that until the SGF and FRSC boss appear to defend the 2016 budget proposals of their establishments, the committee on its part would not in the least subject their estimates to consideration.
He said: “I cannot understand why the SGF and the head of the FRSC failed to show up to defend their budget. That is not acceptable because the budget defense is something that should be taken seriously.
“Until they are prepared to appear themselves to defend their budgets for this year, I am sorry to say this committee would not entertain representatives.”
Appearing separately to defend their commission’s budgets yesterday, the Chairman of Federal Character Commission (FCC), Dr. Shettima Bukar Abba, and Acting National Coordinator of Servicom, Mrs. Nnenna Akajemeli, lamented that the activities of their respective establishments where restricted due to low funding.
Abba lamented that FCC officials relied on the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government for funding in the course of carrying out monitoring exercises, those exposing them to the danger of being compromised.
Responding, Senator Kaura assured that the committee would look into the complaints lodged by the FCC and Servicom with a view to addressing the issue of underfunding.
In a related development, the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu, has appealed for more funding to help it carry out its mandate of checking financial crimes in the country. He made the appeal when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Financial Crimes to defend the commission’s 2016 budget.
“I very much believe that even if you’re going to give us everything we have asked for, it will not be adequate but considering the situation we are, there is nothing we can do,” he said.
The EFCC Chairman was also questioned on the agency’s decision to investigate different sectors of the economy.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, also brought this same appeal for more funding when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Health.
“When we looked at the budget, including submissions from the teaching hospitals, medical centres and agencies, it came down to N347 billion and we got only N335.7 million, which is about 10%,” he said.
He also touched on the Zika virus that is becoming a global concern. “I want to say that Zika has been with since 1954. About 25% of Nigerians are positive to Zika virus but what has happened is that it has done nothing to us,” he said, while explaining the need for more action.
•Based on reports by Blueprint and Channels TV. Photo shows Health Minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole, and EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
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