Lawmaker Storms Out As Humanitarian Minister Defends Budget
There was a disagreement among members of the House of Representatives Committee on Internally Displaced Persons on Tuesday, during the 2021 budget defense session of the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs.
Some lawmakers were worried about the extra-budgetary spending of the ministry and incomplete budget documents submitted by the Minister, Sadiya Umar Farouk.
“I don’t think that the document conclusively and comprehensively the challenges of our office. Engaging with these documents will mean that we are taking just a fraction of our responsibility,” a committee member, Awaji-Inombek Abiante, said.
Subsequently, voices were raised as the defense was ongoing and one of the lawmakers, Fatuhu Mohammed, accused members of the committee of harassing the minister after which he stormed out of the meeting.
According to him, rather than focusing on the main issues of the day, they were accusing the minister of not sharing food items and palliatives which were stored up in warehouses, resulting in the series of lootings that took place across the country.
Speaking further, another lawmaker noted that it was unheard of that an expenditure was defined as non-budgetary. But in defense, the minister explained that it was a special intervention fund by President Buhari – under the Conditional Cash Transfer programme.
She, however, maintained that apart from the budget, her ministry had never received money from anywhere.
The minister’s claim comes months after the country had received cash donations running into billions for the fight against COVID-19.
The donations were also meant to help cushion the effect of the pandemic on Nigerians, especially those considered to be poor and vulnerable.
A chunk of the donations had come from the Nigeria Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID).