Nigeria’s House of Representatives on Tuesday summoned the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, to answer to allegations that the House messed up with the ministry’s 2017 budget and slashed appropriations for critical infrastructural projects.
The Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara named Honourable Aliyu Madaki (APC Kano) as the chairman of an ad hoc committee to probe the minister.
The minister is expected to explain the rationale behind the comments and “why he is inciting Nigerians against the National Assembly.”
The House decision was sequel to a motion brought under privilege by one Sadiq Abubarkar and passed by majority votes.
Mr. Fashola had, in a recent interview while acknowledging that legislators could contribute to budget making, disagreed with the practice where the legislative arm of government unilaterally alters the budget after putting members of the Executive through Budget Defence Sessions and Committee Hearings to the extent that some of the projects proposed would have become materially altered.
While acknowledging the need for legislative input from the representatives of the people to bring forward their developmental aspirations before and during the budget production process, the minister had observed that it amounted to a waste of tax payers money and an unnecessary distortion of orderly planning and development for all sections of the country, for lawmakers to unilaterally insert items not under the Exclusive or Concurrent lists of the Constitution like boreholes and streetlights after putting Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAS, through the process of budget defence.
Specifically with regards to the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Fashola listed the Lagos- Ibadan Expressway, the Bodo-Bonny road, the Kano-Maiduguri road, the Second Niger Bridge and the long drawn Mambilla Hydropower Project among others as those that the National Assembly materially altered the allocations in favour of scores of boreholes and primary health care centres which were never discussed during the Ministerial Budget Defence before Parliament.
The date for the hearing has not been announced.