Friday, 2nd June 2023

Senate probes botched N400b health project, 16 years after

By Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Adamu Abuh, John Akubo (Abuja) and Gloria Nwafor (Lagos)
17 February 2022   |   3:33 am
Senate has ordered investigation into abandonment of the N400 billion National Primary Health Centre (NPHC) project, 16 years after it was initiated by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

National Assembly. Photo/facebook/TopeBrown/NigerianSenate

• Reps investigate Aregbesola over alleged misuse of N165b NCS fund
• NIM kicks against ICAN amendment bill

Senate has ordered investigation into abandonment of the N400 billion National Primary Health Centre (NPHC) project, 16 years after it was initiated by the Olusegun Obasanjo administration.

Adopting a motion sponsored by the chairman of its Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, yesterday, the Senate directed that its committees on Works and Housing, Health and Communicable Disease carry out a joint investigation into the matter.

The investigation must be conducted within six weeks. The upper legislative chambers said the investigation became imperative “to determine the status of the 100 per cent project funds warehoused with the then Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank).”

According to the Senate, the investigation will also help to determine the level of progress and status of the projects in each of the 774 local councils.

The project was initiated in the year 2006, with a goal to build a 60-bed primary health centre in each local council.

To achieve this, the Federal Government deducted money from the excess crude account of all the local councils on a monthly basis.

SIMILARLY, House of Representatives ordered immediate investigation into use of over N165 billion budgeted to the Nigeria Correctional Services (NCS) in the last two years.

Adopting a motion under matters of national importance, sponsored by Ndudi Elumelu, at the plenary presided by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, the House said the measure was aimed at addressing the appalling state of custodial facilities and general welfare of inmates in the country.

The House mandated its Committee on Reformatory Institutions to probe the alleged infraction and turn in its report within 12 weeks for further legislative action.

Elumelu claimed NCS has not lived up to expectations, in spite of enactment of the Nigeria Correctional Service Act 2019, which prioritised the welfare of officers and men in line with international best practices.

He said it was worrisome that the working conditions of staff and inmates’ welfare have deteriorated, notwithstanding the over N165 billion budget allocated to the service in the last two years.

ALSO, Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered) has kicked against the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) Amendment Bill recently presented to the House of Representatives’ Committee on Finance.

According to a statement issued by the institute, yesterday, and signed by the President and Chairman of Council, Major General Abdullahi Muraina (rtd), the ICAN amendment bill, premised on its desire to regulate other professional bodies, encroaches on statutory mandates of NIM by defining ‘Accountancy Practices’ to include ‘Management Consultancy Services’.

Muraina argued that the Nigerian Institute of Management Establishment Act No. 14, 2003, enacted as an Act of National Assembly on June 19, 2003, established the institute as a corporate body under that name.

He stressed that by the Act, the institute is charged among many other mandates to determine what standards of knowledge and skill are to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the management profession, and raising those standards and skill from time to time as circumstances may permit.

MEANWHILE, Senate also confirmed five nominees appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari as Commissioners of the National Population Commission (NPC).

Four other nominees were confirmed as Commissioners of the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC).
The confirmation of the nominees followed consideration of two separate reports by the Committees on National Identity and National Population; and Power.