Reps assure on adequate funding of Nigerian Army
•Justify rationale for procurement of utility vehicles for oversight functions
Chairman, House Committee on Army, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas has assured Nigerians of adequate funding and procurement necessary equipment for the Nigerian Army as part of efforts geared toward improved security
across the country.
Hon. Namdas who stated this during an exclusive interview with Nigerian Tribune, also reiterated commitment towards ensuring improved the welfare of all the security personnel under his watch.
“For me practically I will like to work with Armed Forces that is fully equipped with the necessary equipment to face the challenges ahead of them.
“When you hear on national stations that Boko Haram has overran military formations and carted away their equipment and they use the equipment tomorrow to still kill and maim innocent Nigerians and the military personnel one gets worried and I know it has to do with cost.
“But it is important that we can be able to get resources and it has better to have it on ground; have the equipment and face the challenge than to waste souls on the account that we don’t have the money,” he noted.
While reacting to public outcry on planned purchase of multi-billion naira utility vehicles for members of the 9th Assembly, Hon. Namdas, who was immediate past chairman, House Committee on Army, argued that Nigerians should be concerned about the adherence to the extant procurement laws rather than the public outcry against the purchase of oversight vehicles in four years.
He, however, expressed reservation over the unconcerned attitude of Nigerians against fleet of vehicles being purchased by Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and other civil servants on a yearly basis.
“To me as a returning member, to be sincere I just feel we are over-flogging the matter. Every year since 1999 till date, close to how many years now, 20 years, this institution has been buying vehicles for members and civil society organisations have not stopped talking about it, journalists have not stopped reporting; to me if anybody says National Assembly member does not need a vehicle to do oversight function, sometimes I look at it as being selfish or the person does not understand what is the oversight functions.
“What people should be worried about is the price of the vehicle, that is my own take because each forum you go as a legislator, the argument has always been that you are not living up to expectation, that you have not been doing your oversight functions.
“Before I became a member of the National Assembly the argument has been that if the 7th Assembly has done proper oversight functions, the Dasukigate wouldn’t have come into existence. That has been the argument, today if they tell you that Defence and all the security agencies are not properly oversighted because their budgets are shredded in secrecy or they will tell you that because there are some restricted things about it, then the National Assembly should do proper oversight function.
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“Or on the other had people tell you that members of the National Assembly are waiting for vehicles from Ministries and parastatals to transport us, so we are already compromised. All of those things are there and we want to have a departure, how can we do without a vehicle? Does having a vehicle in the 9th Assembly as a member, how much luxury does it provide?
“There is no member in this 9th Assembly does not have a car, but it’s wrong for us to take private vehicle for oversight function we can sacrifice that. But the main fact is that you are expected to buy them for us people, should not say it is not fair.
“But if the prices are above the normal then I expect that we should cry about it, but if it is within the normal range of buying vehicles, I think people should not look at it as if it is outrageous. There is no ministry that you go that they don’t have at least two vehicles apart from the ones that belong to one director, permanent secretary, minister have convoy, they do have a pool of vehicles and how many ministry did we have in this country and every year as a member of the
National Assembly I see budget of ministries, agencies and parastatals buying vehicles in my case I will buy it for four years but the ministries they buy it yearly.
“And I can prove to you each time there is any budget, check the budget, you are a Journalist, these vehicle are not bought by the National Assembly on a yearly basis but the ministries buy them on yearly basis. But nobody shouts about that, I think we should outgrow these issues of vehicles for honourable members, we should look at the procurement process of those vehicles, are they within the figure that is expected so that we don’t do bogus purchase.
“If you don’t want me to write a Prado Jeep at least let me buy a Peugeot if you want me to buy a Peugeot you can say lets buy 406, whichever one, a car is a car but to say that we don’t deserve a car to do our oversight function, I think you’re not being fair. If you are worried about the price and the model of the vehicle, if you think it too luxurious, give us the model you think in your opinion can be okay with me.” Hon. Namdas stated.