House Summons Finance Minister

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Zainab Ahmed
  • Seeks completion of Ajaokuta Steel Company with Abacha loot

Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja

The Minister of Finance, Zanaib Ahmed, has been summoned to appear before the House of Representatives to explain the reasons for the non-release of the fund appropriated for the National Assembly and the judiciary in the 2018 budget.

This development is coming as the lawmakers have urged the federal government to use the recovered funds from the late former Military Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, to fund the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Complex. The lawmakers also want the original builders, TPE of Russia be recalled to complete the project.

The summon followed the adoption of a motion by Hon. Edward Pwajok over the Tuesday industrial action by National Assembly worker under the umbrella of Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), which protested the non-payment of their Considered Salary Structure (CONLESS).

Pwajok attributed the non-payment of the workers’ benefits to low level of implementation of the 2018 budget, noting that “the National Assembly and Judiciary are on first line charge and so there ought to be full implementation of the budget of the two arms of National Assembly.”

Emphasing that the workers protest was not against the leadership of the National Assembly, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, said it is necessary for the minister to appear before the House to explain why funds appropriated for the National Assembly in the 2018 budget has not been released.

“We have summoned the minister to come and explain why resources have not been released. The National Assembly is structured in such a way that the Senate has its own fund; the House of Representatives has its own fund and the management has its own fund. None of the two presiding officers has access to the funds of the management. We are not supposed to be fighting people working with us,” Namdas stated.

The call for the completion of the Ajaokuta Steel Company was contained in the adopted report of the ad hoc committee on Ajaokuta Steel Complex headed by Hon. Idris Ahmed.

“Since it is known that most of the Abacha loot was gotten from the debt buy back deal involving Ajaokuta, then the recovered loots which are still flowing into Nigeria should be used to supplement the funding of the completion of the Ajaokuta integrated steel plant,” lawmakers noted in the report.