THE Joint Committee on Appropriations in the Senate and the House of Representatives appeared to have arrived at the decision to save the Nigerian Missions abroad from financial misery, following the decision to increase the funds due to them through the virement request.
The joint committee had been reviewing the N180 billion request for virement, made to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to sources at its meetings, the committee concluded on the need to jerk up the request for funds for the Missions, in view of the discovered financial needs.
“The Joint Appropriation Committees of the National Assembly has decided to come to the rescue of the nation’s embassies across the world by ensuring that they have sufficient funds to operate successfully and give quality representation to Nigeria’s interest,” said a source at some of the meetings.
The source said that one of the decisions taken at the joint meeting of the committees during the review of the virement request was the need to increase N14.6 billion provided for the Missions in the 2016 budget.
It was gathered that the lawmakers believed that the embassies should be well funded so that they could hold their own against other foreign missions in their country of assignments.
“Now that we are trying to attract investors and build investors’ confidence in our economy, our embassies must be put in a pole position to coordinate the efforts aimed at reviving our economy,” another source said.
It was further gathered that the lawmakers were also planning to introduce some clauses in the appropriation law, to ensure that funds approved were promptly released to the particular agencies.
Meanwhile, the Senate, on Tuesday, asked the Nigeria Police to immediately investigate reports of a attack on a child in Lagos State, following what it called alarming cases of jungle justice in the country.
The Senators asked the Police to fish out perpetrators of the Lagos attack if it was confirmed to be true.
The development was as a result of the adoption of a motion by Senator
Gbenga Ashafa, in which he expressed dismay at “the rising cases of jungle justice by mobs that have arrogated to themselves the power to condemn others to death and execute judgment without recourse to the law courts in different parts of Nigeria.”
Ashafa said the case of a young man recently lynched in Orile area of Lagos State for alleged stealing was horrifying, regrettable, adding that such barbaric acts should not go unpunished.
The Lagos Senator also recalled the massive destruction of four boys in Aluu community in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in 2012 and similar cases in Ondo, Benin, Uyo, as well as the recent gruesome murder of 74-year old Mrs Bridget Agbahime by an angry mob in Kano.
He said the indifference shown towards the killing of Agbahime by Kano State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice was disheartening adding that mob actions violated Section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution, which he said, guaranteed the right to life.
The motion was supported by Senators Ali Ndume, Mao Ohuabunwa and Shehu Sani.
The Senate thereafter asked its Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters to urgently accelerate the passage of Anti-Jungle Justice Bill that is before it, while also tasking the Attorney
General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami and the Attorneys General of the states, as well as the Police “to show greater sense of duty in the diligent apprehension and prosecution of this kind of offenders.”
In another motion moved by Senator Fatai Buhari, the Senate called on the Federal Government to urgently begins the immediate repair of three bridges which haD almost collapsed along Oyo-Ogbomoso-Ilorin and Igbeti-Ilorin federal highways.
While moving the motion, Senator Buhari said the bridges were no longer passable, explaining that
Oyo-Ogbomoso-Ilorin highway was the “only available road for the commuters moving between Northern Nigeria and South-Western Nigeria since the dual carriage way of Oyo-Ogbomoso.”