Humanitarian minister now claims N206 billion inserted in ministry’s budget for military equipment
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, yesterday, told senators that the N206 billion inserted in the ministry’s budget was for purchase of military equipment.
The minister had disowned the money, last week, saying it was allegedly ‘inserted’ by the Ministry of Finance. Lawmakers had requested the two ministers to appear and clear the air on the controversial amount. However, while the Humanitarian Minister appeared with her Permanent Secretary, her Finance counterpart failed to turn up.
Umar-Farouq spoke when she appeared before the Senate Committee on Special Duties, chaired by Senator Yusuf Yusuf (APC, Taraba Central). At the resumed budget defence, yesterday, when asked for further clarification on the matter, Umar-Farouq said: “On the N206 billion, when we saw it, we didn’t understand what it was meant for because the explanation wasn’t clear.
“If you put N206 billion in Humanitarian Affairs Ministry’s budget and the narration is purchase of military equipment, definitely something is wrong.
“That’s why I said I’m not going to say anything about it until we get clarification from the Ministry of Finance. If we had requested N206 billion for a different project and then in the appropriation bill, it is reading something else, we will not own it.”
Pressed further by the lawmakers whether she requested N206 billion for another project, but it arrived with another narration, she said: “It is not exactly that way, and that’s why we need that clarity from Finance Ministry”.
But Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had, on Wednesday, cleared the air on the allegation. In a meeting with the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, which invited her, alongside Director General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze, and Umar Farouq, Ahmed said there was a wrong coding of projects.