Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has called for a legislative backing for COVID-19 donations to the government by the private sector and individuals, noting that there should be means of discouraging reneging on donations publicly made.
Gbajabiamila made the disclosure in Abuja yesterday during a meeting on the update on COVID-19 between the leadership of the National Assembly and the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 where he emphasised the need for legislation for the disbursement of government and private funds for the pandemic.
He said without legislation, spending from the COVID-19 funds may become a subject of litigation.
According to Gbajabiamila, “the disbursement from the fund without the approval of the National Assembly could become controversial. What we are trying to do is to see if constitutional provision is brought to bear on this issue as stated by Section 80 of the Constitution, that disbursement from the coffers of government can only be in a manner prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.”
“What we can do is to convene as soon as possible and give you, even if it is a one line item for you to appropriate this monies, this is because to do otherwise may become a subject of litigation, and the court can say you have no power to disburse from the money that is coming to the coffers of government. Right now, there is no consequence for reneging on promised made on donations because there is no legislation. There must be some form of legislation to that effect, an instrument to compel pledges must be in place.”
Speaking further, Gbajabiamila said the House will monitor the activities of the Chinese medical personnel that came into the country on Wednesday.
The Speaker said the need to monitor the movement of the personnel became important following fears expressed by Nigerians over their coming into the country.