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Senate ignores consideration, passage of N22.7tr Ways & Means

By Guardian Nigeria
26 January 2023   |   4:43 am
The planned final consideration and passage of N22.7 trillion Ways and Means restructuring request suffered another setback, yesterday.

Senate in session.

• Confirms ex-IGP Arase as chairperson of Police Service Commission
• Asks IGP to investigate disappearance of NSCDC deputy commandant

The planned final consideration and passage of N22.7 trillion Ways and Means restructuring request suffered another setback, yesterday.

President Muhammadu Buhari had, in December 2022, forwarded the request to the Senate and House of Representatives for expeditious consideration.

The Senate, however, adjourned to February 28 without its passage.
The inability of the chamber to pass the request could put the country at risk of incurring additional N1.8 trillion debt as Buhari warned three weeks earlier, when he assented to the N21.83 trillion 2023 budget.

The request was neither listed on the order paper used for plenary, yesterday, nor mentioned by the Senate Leader, who is the chairman of the special committee set up for that purpose.

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had on Tuesday, last week, declared that the chamber was ready to approve the request, provided required details of spendings were made available by Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed, and Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele.

He said but for restructuring of N22.7 trillion Ways and Means request, the Senate, and by extension, the House of Representatives, would have adjourned plenary on Thursday, last week, till after the Presidential and National Assembly election.

“We must have necessary information for passage of the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means restructuring request, as time is not on our side in the Senate now, in view of coming general elections.
“If there was need for the Senate to sit up till Friday (last week) for thorough consideration and passage of the request, it would have been done. But the affected officials from the executive must also expedite action on provision of required information, as regards documents authorising approval and disbursement of the money totalling N22.7trillion,” he had said.

But the Senator Gobir-led committee did not present any report for consideration by the Senate on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, making the Senate to adjourn without approving it as earlier planned.

The committee had lamented that expected details from the executive arm of government on how the N22.7 trillion was expended within 10 years were not provided.

Also, Senate confirmed Buhari’s nomination of Solomon Arase as Chairperson of Police Service Commission (PSC).
Arase’s confirmation followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Police Affairs. Chairperson of the Committee, Jika Halliru (APC-Bauchi), presented the report.
Halliru said Arase’s nomination was in accordance with Section 154, sub-section 1 of the 1999 Constitution.

According to him, Sections 2 (A) and (B) of the Police Service Commission Establishment Act 2001 also required the President to nominate Nigerians of proven integrity as members of the PSC.

He said findings from the screening by the committee showed that Arase met the necessary legal requirements and is affirmed by the committee to be the proper person to be appointed as chairperson of PSC.

He said the committee was satisfied and impressed with how the nominee competently answered all questions posed to him.

Halliru said that given the qualifications and relevant experience gained by Arase over the years, the committee recommended that the Senate confirm his appointment.
Ajayi Borofice (APC, Ondo), who made glowing remarks on the academic profile and career of the nominee, described his nomination as a “round peg in a round whole”.

The Senate also asked Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, to investigate the sudden disappearance of Raymond Gaadi, the deputy commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), who was to assume office at the Bayelsa State Command.

Gaadi, upon arrival, went missing.
The Senate further urged the Commandant of the NSCDC to direct an internal investigation into the matter.

Resolutions of the Senate followed a motion by Senator Emmanuel Orker-Jev (PDP, Benue) who raised the alarm on the disappearance of Gaadi, who was posted from Enugu to Bayelsa.

According to him, the deputy commandant had raised the alarm that the officer he was meant to take over from was not only resisting a handover, but was also threatening him.
He added that two days after the deputy commandant raised the alarm over threat to his life, he went missing.