OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives Committee on Aviation has raised concerns over the sum of N974million expenditure for fencing the Nigeria College of Aviation Technology (NCAT) and another N49million for water treatment facility for the school.
Meanwhile, the Committee has summoned the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and his Aviation counterpart, Hadi Sirika to appear before before it on Thursday to provide details of its budget performance of the aviation ministry.
The committee also seriously frowned at the failure of chief executives of 4 agencies of the ministry to honour invitation of the panel to defend budget performances of the last 18 months.
These happened during a botched interactive session by the committee with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), and the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) on Tuesday at the National Assembly.
Expressing shock at the expenditures, the committee wondered if the cost of the fencing was for the school (NCAT) located in Zaria or the entire Kaduna State.
It also questioned whether the cost for the water treatment was to establish a water bottling company with the amount of money voted and spent on the project.
Before the interaction on NCAT, the committee had noted that the Directors General of the avaition agencies were all absent although they sent in representatives from whom the lawmakers refused to take presentations.
While the FAAN DG was said to have a scheduled meeting with the Ministry of Transportation even though the minister, Mr. Amaechi, was at the time meeting with the House committee on Land Transportation.
On his part, the NCAA DG was said to have traveled outside the country on medical leave while the Commissioner in charge of the AIB on the other hand was said to have also traveled, a claim which the committee chairperson, Mrs. Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (APC, Abia) countered, saying that she reliably gathered that “the man is in Nigeria and attending to some foreigners in his office”.
“My brother, I take exceptions to the fact that the AIB Commissioner is in Nigeria and he’s attending to foreigners and has prioritised that meeting over and above a scheduled session with this committee,” she said.
She berated the attitude of the agencies’ bosses. She said: “Now we have this attitude that leads to lack of accountability in budget implementation, because as we speak, we don’t know how much has been released to them, how much has been spent and what it was spent to achieve.
“And in less than two days from now, they will tell us to accept their 2019 budget proposal and approve same, we can’t take that from anybody henceforth.
“If we don’t appropriate you can’t spend, and if you spend without our appropriation you go to jail. The National Assembly has been slighted to the barest minimum and the ministries and agencies are doing same. The minister’s own is even worst because he always finds reasons not to honour our invitation and we are done condoning that.
“Whoever failed to defend their 2018 budget performance will not get a budget in 2019 and we will make sure that those who deliberately avoid our oversight will have no appropriation for next year.
“You can’t keep spending public funds as you want without accountability to the people whose money you’re spending, and as representatives of the people, we are here to tell you that is completely unacceptable.”
The only agency attended to and allowed to present it budget was the NCAT which was led by the training manager of the school, Captain Hassan Abdulrahman Jimoh.
He was however asked to update documents regarding a $1million simulator equipment procurement contract and report back to the committee for further engagement on Thursday.