senate1Angered by their absence at the ongoing 2016 budget defence, the Senate Committee on Federal Character yesterday walked out representatives of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Mr. Babachir David Lawal, and the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Mr. Boboye Oyeyemi, when they appeared before the committee.
The committee chairman, Senator Tijjani Yahaya Kaura, who presided over the meeting, decried the refusal of the SGF and FRSC boss to personally appear before the committee to defend the budget proposal of their agencies.
Senator Kaura, alongside members of the committee, described their failure to appear before the committee as unacceptable.
While the SGF was represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Services in The Presidency, Yahaya Bukar, a top official of the FRSC stood in for the commission’s boss.
According to him, the budget defence of their respective agencies 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 proposal of their establishments, the committee on its part would not in the least subject their estimates to consideration.
Senator Kaura said: “I cannot understand why the SGF and the head of the FRSC failed to show up to defend their budgets. That is not acceptable because the budget defence is something that should be taken seriously.
“Until they are prepared to appear themselves to defend their budgets for this year, I’m sorry to say this committee would not entertain representatives.”
Also, the chairman of Federal Character Commission, Dr. Shettima Bukar Abba and acting national coordinator of Servicom, Mrs Nnenna Akajemeli, while appearing separately to defend their commissions’ budgets yesterday, lamented that the activities of their respective establishments were restricted due to low funding.
According to Abba, officials of the federal character rely on the relevant ministries, departments and agencies of government for funding in the course of carrying out monitoring exercises.
He added that the reliance of the commission’s officials on MDAs for financial support in the course of carrying out their duties exposed them to being compromised.
Responding, Senator Kaura assured that the committee would look into the complaints lodged by FCC and Servicom with a view to addressing the issue of underfunding.