House of Representatives Appropriates N831bn for 2019 Election

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• Condemns Liman’s murder

Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja

The total funding for the 2019 general election has been put at N831, 259, 220, 255.00 by the House Representatives.

The development followed the passage of a motion by Hon. Mustapha Bala Dawaki for the approval of the request by the federal government for N242, 245, 050, 100 virement funds to finance the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies in the Appropriation Act 2018.

The virement, which became necessary so as to appropriate funds to enable the relevant agencies conduct hitch-free elections next year, added N189, 007, 272, 393 to the N45, 500, 000, 000 INEC appropriation putting the new total at 234, 507, 272, 393 and the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) got N9, 481, 500, 000 bringing the new total to N46, 948, 839, 426. Also, with an additional N10, 213, 282, 455, the Department of State Security (DSS) now has N50, 791, 852, 568.

With an additional N3, 573, 534, 500, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps total appropriation rose to N82, 834, 042, 256; the Nigeria Police N324, 220, 893, 212 2018 appropriation, which got N27, 341, 317, 433 virement, now stands at N351, 562, 210, 645 while the N61, 986, 859, 648 appropriated in the 2018 budget for the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) was increased to N64, 615, 002, 968 with a virement of N2, 628, 143, 320 which put the total at N831, 259, 220, 255.00.

According to Duwaki, the virement, which is to be taken from the recurrent and capital components of the service wide vote, “became necessary in order to appropriate funds to enable the relevant agencies commence preparation towards a free and fair election in 2019.”

The controversial bill for an act to amend the provisions of the Electoral Act, No 6 of 2010 and related matter sponsored by Hon. Aishatu Jibril Dukku also passed for second reading and was passed to the Committee of the whole for consideration today.

The bill scaled through after members had addressed the issues raised by President Muhammadu Buhari as reasons for declining ascent to it.

Also adopting a motion moved under matters of urgent national importance by member representing Ehimembano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo federal constituency of Imo State, Hon. Chike Okafor, who harped on urgent need to rescue Leah Sharibu and other girls in Boko Haram captivity, the lawmakers expressed shock at the execution of another aid worker, Ms Hauwa Liman by the insurgents.

The concerned lawmaker, who bemoaned that it is becoming very difficult for those who want to help the victims of Boko Haram insurgents to carry out their duties, observed a minute silence over the killings of Liman and Saifura Khorsa, an aide worker with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) previously killed in the year.

He called on the federal government to do all within its work with other countries in the world to acquire advance technology to tackle problems associated with terrorism, stressing that “if we don’t act as a responsible country that we are, it will get to a point that this international bodies will stop bringing their employees to Nigeria.”

In another development, a bill for the establishment of the National Security Trust Fund passed through second reading in the lower chamber of the National Assembly and was referred to the House committees on Army, Defence and National Security and intelligence for further legislative input.

The bill, which comes with 26 clauses and which scaled through second reading, will provide an avenue for security agencies to procure hardware, infrastructure and technologies to aid in ensuring national security.

The sponsored, Hon. Rimamnde Shawulu (PDP Taraba) said the aim is to do away with budget constraints and address inadequate remuneration of security personnel, inadequate equipment, poor state of available equipment, low level of training, limited manpower and poor maintenance culture.