Budget defence: Sen Barau kicks against closed-door session

Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Barau Jibrin ( APC Kano North) has faulted the adoption of secret meetings with Ministers, senior officials of federal agencies, trooping into the national assembly for budget defence.

Certain joint committees of the national assembly have during the week shut their doors against newsmen anxious to cover budget defence proceedings.

But speaking with journalists on Friday, Senator Barau frowned at the secrecy trailing the process as he noted that budget defence was supposed to be done in the open.

He said:” Neither the Senate as a body nor the Appropriation committee, coordinating the entire process, gave such a directive to any committee to hold budget defence session in secret with officials from the executive arm of government.

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“I saw the story in the paper today and I’m not happy about it. If actually the method was carried out by the affected committees.

” I know that such a trend will not continue from next week because Nigerians right from the budget defence sessions, supposed to know what and what the parliament and the executive are preparing or planning for them.

“The budgets being discussed or defended by the affected agencies, are more or less, for Nigerians, the very reason why such assignment should be carried out in the open with attendance of journalists who are to report the details of what transpired at each of the session.”

He, however, clarified that closed-door session may be held by committees on oversight on the Military, Police and other security agencies at certain stages.

His words: ” For security reasons, committees over sighting the various military outfits and Police, may at a critical stage, hold closed-door sessions but this is not expected from other committees especially on the issue of budget defence, being financial proposals meant for societal advancement.”

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