Senate Fixes Nov 28 for 2020 Budget Passage


•Asks NNPC to return N382m spent on firefighting

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, has asked the Committee on Appropriations to lay its report on the 2020 budget on November 26, for consideration and passage before the end of the month.

This is coming as the upper legislative chamber has asked the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to return “outrageous” N382 million the corporation said it spent on fighting fire in Komkom, Rivers State.
Lawan, who stated this at plenary yesterday, commended the various committees for rounding off their budget defence sessions on schedule.

He said the resolve of the National Assembly to revert to the January-to-December budget cycle remained sacrosanct.
According to him, “All the committees have done their works so well within the defined parameters.
“Therefore, we expect the appropriations committee to galvanise into action.

“They (members of the appropriations committee) should produce the report to be laid here on the 26th November, which is the next two weeks, before the Senate.

“I believe this will be the same thing in our sister chamber, the House of Representatives, so that we would be able to pass the 2020 Appropriation Bill on the 28th of November.”
Meanwhile, the Senate has asked the NNPC to return “outrageous” N382 million the corporation said it spent on fighting fire in Komkom.

The request of the upper legislative chamber followed a report presented yesterday by Abdullahi Gobir, senator representing Sokoto East.
The Senate had set up an ad hoc committee chaired by Gobir to probe pipeline explosions in Komkom, and in Ijegun, Lagos State.

In June, there was a pipeline explosion which reportedly killed 43 people in Komkom. In July, a similar explosion reportedly killed 11 people in Ijegun.

Presenting the report, Gobir said vandals exposed pipeline to leaks after “puncturing and siphoning petroleum products.”
He said the NNPC and its contractors were aware of the pipeline leaks in Komkom and Ijegun but delayed actions.

“That the incidents in Rivers and Lagos states were avoidable if the NNPC/NPSC and the contractors maintaining and monitoring the pipelines were proactive.

“That NNPC should start the process of deploying modern technology in pipeline surveillance and detection of leakages as well as introduce carthodic protection on the pipelines.

“That NNPC (and NPSC) should refund to the treasury, the outrageous sum of N382, 203,055.74, only it claimed to have used in firefighting operation in Komkom and provide evidence of compliance to the Committee on Downstream Petroleum sector.

“That NNPC (and NPSC) should carry out proper check on all the petroleum product pipelines across the country to ascertain their status for either repairs or total replacement.

“That the governments of Rivers and Lagos states as well as all pipeline host community leaders should sensitise all occupants of pipeline right of ways to vacate the right of ways,” he added.