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Wednesday, 12 December 2018

House of Reps threatens to jail Buhari’s ministers, gives reasons

House of Reps threatens to jail Buhari’s ministers, gives reasons

The House of Representatives has threatened to jail any minister or any other public officials working with the executive arm of government.

The lower legislative arm warned that any minister or government official who spends public funds without appropriation will be sent to jail because their budgetary allocations must be scrutinized.

Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Aviation, Hon. Nkiru Onyejiocha issued the warning during a public hearing for the scrutinization of Chief Executives of four agencies on Tuesday.

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The officials include: the Directors-General of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, that of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA; and Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NiMet.

Onyejiocha said it was an illegality for ministers to spend funds without legislative appropriation, adding that such action would attract a certain jail term.

She said: “The man is in Nigeria and attending to some foreigners in his office. My brother, I take exceptions to the fact that the AIB Commissioner is in Nigeria and he’s attending to foreigners and has prioritised that meeting over and above a scheduled session with this committee.

“Now we have this attitude that leads to lack of accountability in budget implementation, because as we speak, we don’t know how much has been released to them, how much has been spent and what it was spent to achieve.

“And in less than two days from now, they will tell us to accept their 2019 budget proposal and approve same, we can’t take that from anybody henceforth.

“If we don’t appropriate you can’t spend, and if you spend without our appropriation you go to jail. The national assembly has been slighted to the barest minimum and the ministries and agencies are doing same.

“The minister’s own is even worst because he always finds reasons not to honour our invitation and we are done condoning that.

“Whoever failed to defend their 2018 budget performance will not get a budget in 2019 and we will make sure that those who deliberately avoid our oversight will have no appropriation for next year.

“You can’t keep spending public funds as you want without accountability to the people whose money you’re spending, and as representatives of the people, we are here to tell you that is completely unacceptable.”

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