WASTAGE: Opposition parties, Civil Society groups kick against N4 billion allocation for first ladies’ house

Published:4 Feb, 2013

GEJCivil rights groups and political parties  have berated  the Federal Capital Territory Administration for budgeting N4bn for the construction of First Ladies’ Mission House in Abuja.

They said that the N4bn budget was a demonstration of the Goodluck Jonathan administration’s penchant for profligacy.

The N4bn  proposal was contained in the FCT’s N253bn budget for the 2013 fiscal year currently before the National Assembly.

In a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Emma Eneukwu, in Abuja, on Sunday, the All Nigeria Peoples Party described the budgetary provision as illegal, corrupt, and unpatriotic.

It said since the Federal Government had earlier declared the mission as a non- governmental organisation, it would be inappropriate for the same government to spend public funds  on it.

The statement reads, “Our party believes that the matter is a non-issue as the budget for the complex is inherently illegal and should not waste the time of the distinguished senators in their work.

“The fact on ground is that the Federal Government has already declared that the African First Ladies Peace Mission is a non-governmental organisation and could not be funded with the taxpayers’ money.

The party added, “For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to remind Nigerians that in July 2012, the Presidency, while refuting reports that the Federal Government had purchased 200 new exotic cars for the African First Ladies Summit in Abuja, affirmed that AFLPM, which was holding its summit in Abuja, is an NGO and its activities are funded by stakeholders and members of the private sector who support and identify with its objectives.

“The statement by Dr Reuben Abati, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, stated inter alia, ‘in accordance with its modus operandi, the AFLPM set up several committees, including a finance committee to raise funds and sponsorship for the organisation of its Abuja summit.”

‘Therefore, our party finds it puzzling, absurd and incongruous that another project of the AFLPM could now be smuggled into the budget of the FCT, an undeniable burden to the already burdened citizens of our great nation.”

While declaring the  provision of the budget as unpatriotic, the party called on the members of the Senate to reject the budget provision.

It said that there were several  people-oriented projects begging for attention in Nigeria and wondered why the FCTA decided to fund the project to the detriment of Nigerians.

On its part, the Congress for Progressive Change described it as “outrageous imprudence.”

According to a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Rotimi Fashakin, the CPC declared that the budget in itself was a demonstration of the present administration’s profligacy.

The party said it had noted “the N253bn budget proposal by the FCT Minister, Mr Bala Muhammed, and for which the President had given his Executive approval.

“As expected with this regime, there are items in the 2013 budget that are not just absurd but utterly outrageous.

Among the bizarre lines embedded in the budget document are:

– N4bn for construction of First Lady’s mission building.

– N5bn for rehabilitation of commercial sex workers.

– N7bn for construction of two city gates.

– N150mn for renovation of  vice-president’s guest houses in Asokoro.

“It is appalling to see budgetary allocation as much as N4bn for the office of the First Lady that is not recognised by the Nation’s constitution.”

The party added, “A cursory view of these budgetary items easily reveals that this PDP-led regime is never in short supply of nauseous financial recklessness and indescribable superfluity of indiscretion.

“At a time when many Nigerians have been rendered homeless by the anti-people stance of the PDP-led FCT administration, it is ludicrous to imagine that, rather than embarking on projects in alleviating the afflictions, this clueless regime has again shown its undisguised self-centeredness. Indeed, it beggars belief that a supposed democratic government can revel in such thoughtless insensitivity!

CPC said, “Recently, the N7bn allocation for the construction of a new home for the vice-president was mindlessly jerked up to N16bn. Despite the show of outrage by the Nigerian people – as evindinced by their elected representatives in the National Assembly- the same regime is demanding another humongous allocation for renovating the guess houses for the same Vice-president.

“It is unmistakably clear that, whilst the nation’s rulers demand selflessness and sacrifice from Nigerians, they do not show example in walking the talk in preachment on patriotism!

“As a party, we are convinced beyond doubt that this PDP-led administration is incapable of judicious appropriation of scarce resources. It is for this reason that we call on the National Assembly to investigate this dubious budgetary approval and ensure reversal of this reported infra-dig.”

Also speaking on the issue, Executive Director of the Civil Society Legislative and Advocacy Centre, Mallam Awual Musa-Rafsanjani; said the allocation was an insult to Nigerian taxpayers.

He explained that it was sad that at a time the administration was making plans to increase the tax burden on residents of the city, it was planning to waste such funds.

 

via Punch

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