- Says leaders must unite against criminality, divisive forces
Deji Elumoye in Abuja
The Senate on Tuesday pledged to ensure that all funds approved by the National Assembly to tackle COVID-19 pandemic are properly utilised by the federal government.
This is just as the upper chamber also expressed concern over inter-ethnic and inter-tribal conflicts in some parts of the country, saying leaders must unite against criminality and divisive forces.
The President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, who spoke while welcoming his colleagues from Christmas break, stressed the need for the legislative arm to ensure that the special funds appropriated by the National Assembly for the prevention of the pandemic are used for the purpose by the executive arm of government.
He said: “The National Assembly made special provisions in the 2020 Budget, which runs up to 31st March, 2021, and the 2021 Budget as well. We need to ensure that the funds are properly utilized for the prevention and management of the pandemic.
“It is equally important for the Senate to engage with Executive arm of government on the selection, procurement, distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccines. We must ensure that the selections of the vaccine for our people follows the appropriate and due scientific process, with National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) giving approval only after exhaustive tests before the final selection and approval.
“We must ensure that the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) responsible for this exercise develop verifiable processes and timelines on how Nigerians would be vaccinated.”
Lawan also called on Nigerian leaders to unite against criminality stemming from the activities of bandits and kidnappers, as well as resist the antics of divisive elements bent on instigating inter-ethnic tensions across the country.
According to him, “Insurgency, banditry, kidnapping and militancy remain serious threats to a secured and safe Nigeria,” adding that they are challenges which require the collaborative effort of the legislature and executive to tackle.
The Senate President, while appealing to Nigerians for calm in view of the recent inter-tribal agitations and conflicts in some states in the South-west part of the country, described the development as “worrisome” and one that requires the immediate intervention of political leaders.