– The lawmakers said the money is too paltry to solve anything significant in problems of the North
– They Reps also think there are contracts hidden in the budget that would not be of any benefit to the Internally displaced People of North East
The House of Representatives has described the N45 billion budgeted for the rehabilitation of the North East as ‘paltry’ compared to the damages done by Boko Haram to the North East.
The lawmakers have also queried many “fictitious” sub-heads in the budget, which did not address the immediate needs of the internally displaced persons (IDP).
Punch reports that the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative (PCNI) had laid the budget before the House Committee on Internally Displaced Persons in Abuja last week, but lawmakers rejected it.
One of the lawmakers said: “Most of the proposals lacked details and it would appear that contracts had been programmed to be awarded for services that may not really be beneficial to the IDPs.
“For a small budget of N45bn, you will see that over N9.7bn will go to security, peace building and stabilisation.
“How much is left to attend to the welfare of the IDPs, who are scattered in camps in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba states?”
A copy of the budget shows that:
1) N5.9bn would be spent on what the PCNI called “thermal imaging equipment for military patrols.”
2) Another N2.5bn was proposed for “rapid renovation and reconstruction of security outfits and other productive works.”
3) The sum of N495m was voted for yet another “North-East task force contact centre.”
4) The same committee had proposed N60m for the clearing of grasses and shrubs, while it proposed another N80m for “disarmament mobilisation.”
5) “Security equipment” which were not named, would cos
A lawmaker from Adamawa State, Mr. Adamu Kamale who claimed the budget was all wrong and fictitious said: “Here we are, complaining that N45bn is too small to address the problems of the IDPs in the North-East.
“There are no schools, no houses, no food supplies, and no hospitals and medicines, but the PCNI seems to be more interested in funding military operations.
“People are dying every day, we expected that the budget will devote substantial votes to the immediate needs of the IDPs.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has continued investigations into an allegeddouble payment of N46.5 billion for the Airport Road and Kubwa Expressway contracts in Abuja by the Budget Office of the Federation.
According to the committee’s records, officials of the Budget Office had appeared before the lawmakers on the matter on June 1, 2016 but the matter had not been concluded.