Reps probe debt owed local contractors by FG, seek penalties for crime against humanity

House of Representatives

The House of Representatives yesterday, mandated its committee on Aids, Loans and Debt Management to liaise with the budget office to ascertain the debt owed to local contractors by the federal government.

The resolution followed a motion moved on the floor of the House by Hon. Emmanuel Oker-Jev on the ‘urgent need to carry out verification of local debts owed by the federal government before payment.’

Leading the debate, Oker-Jev stated that there were uncertainties surrounding the amount of local debts owed local contractors by the government.

He pushed for investigations into the debts, stressing that if carried out before payments are made, trillions of naira would be saved for the national treasury.

The lawmaker noted that these funds could be used for infrastructural developments.

He said:, “While some put the figure at about N2.2 trillion, others put it at over N10.61 trillion,” the lawmaker said.

“With the clamour for the reflation of the economy, the federal government would soon start settling those local debts when the budget is passed.

“Considering the shenanigans of Nigeria’s bureaucracy, the estimated amount allegedly being owed to local contractors may not be real as the actual debt may have been over estimated and it will amount to a major disservice to the nation for trillions of Naira to be paid without verification.”

Contributing, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, said payment of local contractors would lead to increased employment for the youths in the country.

Similarly, Hon. Olufunke Adedoyin, noted that the payment was “critical to the survival of our economy and the reduction of local debts.”

The House also passed for second reading a bill seeking to enforce the punishment of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide.

Sponsor of the bill, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai in his debate, explained that the bill when passed into law, will provide appropriate sanctions those guilty of such crimes.

Ossai noted that the bill would help bring to justice, those who choose to take laws into their own hands.

“Nigeria signed the international criminal court of justice treaty in 2000, the national assembly has the powers to domesticate such treaties,” the legislator told the house.

“One of the benefits of this bill is that it will provide appropriate sanctions to perpetrators of such acts and if someone commits a crime and runs away he will still be brought to book internationally.”

Supporting the bill, Nkem Uzoma-Abonta and Nnenna Ukeje said the country was currently undergoing some of these crimes the bill was seeking to address adding that it would strengthen the country’s laws against such crimes.

Similarly, Hon. Mohammed Garba Datti said “domestication of the bill will provide protection of citizens and uphold the rule of law.”



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