Reps panel faults allocation of N8.4b to military operations in North East

Nigeria Army. PHOTO: ketekete

• House committee queries source of crude oil lifting
The House of Representatives’ Committee on Internally Displaced Persons and Refugees yesterday faulted the allocation of fund by the Presidential Committee on Northeast Initiatives (PCNI).

Chairman of the committee, Mr. Sani Zorro, said the N8. 4billion it allocated to support military operations in the region could be used to rehabilitate and resettle the displaced persons. According to him, the military already has budgetary provisions to maintain peace in the area.

He said it was grossly inadequate for the PCNI to budget N60m to clear the bush along Maiduguri-Damboa road, N150m for early warning and advocacy, N200m for delivery of security equipment and N184m for screening of humanitarian items.

Zorro urged the chairman of PCNI, Mr. Tijjani Tumsah, to furnish the committee with its mandate and give a breakdown of the items that it would require in the 2017 fiscal year.

Other members of the committee are Adamu Kamale (APC Madagali, Adamawa), Gyang Istifanus (PDP Barkin Ladi, Plateau) and Sergius Ogun (PDP Esan Northeast, South East, Edo).

Tumsah, who presented a budget proposal of N45 billion, said the PCNI’s decision was taken to support the logistic needs of the military to protect the IDPs.

Zorro canvassed an efficient tracking of the funds that are donated by development agencies and urged stakeholders to be transparent to enable the country to access the fund.

Also, the House Ad hoc Committee on the review of petroleum pump price yesterday blamed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for what it described as weak control of oil import activities.

The committee Chairman, Nnana Igbokwe, said it was inappropriate for the NNPC to give oral directives to the oil lifting agents.

Igbokwe, who spoke at an investigative hearing with oil shipping agencies, said the practice had made it difficult to verify the exact locations and quantity of petroleum products that come into the country.

While the agents explained their positions, another meeting was fixed for Monday next week to enable them to show records of their trucking, payment of charges and taxes and evidence that they do not influence the fixing of pump prices by the NNPC.

Meanwhile amid reports of depleted fighters, Boko Haram has recruited about 2,000 child soldiers in Nigeria and neighbouring countries.

UNICEF Executive Director, Mr. Anthony Lake disclosed this in a release yesterday in Calabar.

According to him: “The data verified by the United Nations and its partners indicated that nearly 2,000 children were recruited by Boko Haram in 2016 alone.”

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