Senator Kabir Ibrahim Gaya (APC), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Works, has reacted to criticisms trailing the N2.5 trillion recovered from looters,and deposited in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Senator Gaya said while he understands the feelings of Nigerians that the money can be used to fix economic hardship and budget deficit, he pointed out that there are ongoing cases in court.
His words: “Only N500 billion can be accessed while the remaining N2 trillion is still there in the bank. This money is already being contested between the accused and the government in courts. “There are cases of corruption since the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to date. Buhari wants to work and he needs money to do so but there are suits in court.” On alleged delay of the 2017 budget by the Senate, Gaya said the view was wrong.
He insisted that Senate President Bukola, Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, were in fact very keen on quick passage of the budget. “When we looked at the budget, there were so many things that needed to be addressed. I said we cannot finish it until April and they shouted at me,” he told Daily Trust.
“But I explained that President Buhari said in the federal executive council in January, he approved 36 road projects, and I know that they were not captured in the 2017 budget but in the 2016 budget. “That is why we had to check the budget of 2017 carefully. This is why I commend Saraki, Dogara, Goje and Dawaki because we studied the budget item by item, and we were able to finish the budget and submitted it to the government.
“The budget of the Ministry of Works was about N28 billion during the last administration and when Buhari came, he made a budget of N280 billion on roads and N350 billion this year as his commitment to have good roads across the country. “And the National Assembly has amended the act to reduce the long process of procurement to three or four months because projects approved for 2016 were not procured until March and April of this year (2017). These are the reasons why we had the delay”