JONAS EZIEKE, Abuja.
An Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives probing the disbursement of N350 billion from the Natural Resources Fund on Monday grilled the Managing Director of Sokoto Rima River Basin Development Authority, Bature Mohammed, an engineer, and other heads of government agencies on the matter.
The House Ad-hoc Committee Chairman Hon. Adamu Kamale and other committee members grilled the Managing Director of SRRDA alongside the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa and other key players in the disbursement of the fund.The Committee was inaugurated by the House Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, to investigate the disbursement of N350 billion from the Natural Resources Fund and investment of the fund into solid mineral investment by relevant government agencies.
But the Managing Director of the Sokoto Rima River Development Authority Engr. Bature Mohammed told the Committee that N80 billion of the lump sum was withdrawn from the account on the orders of the Accountant-General of the Federation.He informed the lawmakers that the funds were set aside by the government to settle the liabilities of the River Basin Authorities and insisted that the funds were adequately utilized.
The Committee also grilled the Executive Secretary of the Christian Pilgrims Commission Mr Tor Uja on the disbursement of the fund where it was revealed that N1.3 bn was spent by the commission in 2017 for airlifting of pilgrims.The Ad-hoc Committee helmsman and other lawmakers however insisted that the the disbursement which was done by the River Basin Authority and other agencies without the approval of the National Assembly was unconstitutional..
The Committee Chairman who said its powers were derived based on the provisions of Section 80 of the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 noted that any approval granted by the Presidency without recourse to the National Assembly is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.
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