Senate Sets up Ad-hoc Committee to Probe Special Intervention Fund


Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The Senate Wednesday resolved to set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to probe the disbursement of Special Intervention Fund , SIF, to beneficiaries by the Federal Government.

This is sequel to a motion moved by Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujinmi, who alleged politicisation of the disbursement of the Special Intervention Fund and therefore canvassed for the setting up of an high- powered bipartisan ad-hoc committee to look into the matter.

The Ad-hoc committee which is headed by Senator Ibrahim Gobir (Sokoto East) has as members Senators Shehu Sani (Kaduna Central); Enyinnaya Abaribe (Abia South); Dino Melaye (Kogi West); Gbenga Ashafa (Lagos East) and Danjuma Goje (Gombe Central).

Senate President Bukola Saraki asked the ad-hoc committee to thoroughly investigate Olujinmi’s allegations and report back to Senate in two weeks.

The Senate had earlier resumed plenary on a rowdy note as Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujinmi, accused the federal government of politicising the disbursement of the Special Intervention Fund.

She had barely finished her submission when some Senators across political divides started shouting as soon as the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmad Lawan, was recognised to speak by Senate President Saraki.
Senator Dino Melaye (Kogi West) moved from his seat and started shouting Point of Order before Saraki had to ask him to return to his seat.

Attempts by Lawan to justify government’s disbursement of the Special Intervention Fund was interrupted several times by shouts of No No by some Senators and it took the intervention of Saraki before order could be restored to the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly also Wednesday mandated its Committee on Police Affairs to investigate how the Nigeria Police Force utilised past allocation for election purposes during the 2011 and 2015 general electionsin the country.

This was consequent upon Senator Dino Melaye’s query of allocation of N27, 341,317,433 to the Police for the purpose of the 2019 polls.

Melaye had argued that such collosal sum was not needed by the Police that had 2018 budgetary allocation.
Senator Danjuma Goje , however, said Melaye’s complaint was belated after both chambers of the National Assembly had passed the 2019 election budget.

The Senate President thereafter mandated the Police Affairs Committee to look into utilisation of previous allocation to the Police for election monitoring and report back to Senate in two weeks.
The Senate also pleaded with the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU, to call off its three- day long industrial action.

It implored the Federal government to engage the university lecturers on the implementation of past agreements reached with ASUU on proper funding of public universities.

Some Senators including Shehu Sani and Mao Ohuabunwa had expressed concern over the crisis in public universities especially the industrial action embarked upon by ASUU and the need for Senate to intervene before it degenerated into another thing.