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Donor funds: Reps issue ultimatum to minister

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 Victor Oluwasegun, Abuja

THE House of Representatives Committee on Civil Society Organisations and Donor Agencies on Tuesday issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mr. Clems Agba, to explain some unclear issues.

Committee Chairman Idris Kabiru (APC, Kano) said the minister had refused to appear before the committee, despite several letters of invitation sent to him.

Two workers from the ministry – Abdullahi Yakubu, an Assistant Director, and Oluseyi Fatuyi, a Deputy Director – were disallowed from standing in for the Minister of State because they did not have authorising letters.

Fatuyi pleaded for leniency, saying the minister had always expressed readiness to interface with the committee.

“So, we are very sorry, sir. In respect of his inability to properly communicate to the committee a letter of his absence, we are sorry because it is not intentional. It is just that something came up today and he had to delegate us. Up till last night, he was to make it,” he said.

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Elisha Simon Karu (APC, Gombe), a member of the committee, said the committee was not happy with the nonchalant attitude of the minister for refusing to honour its invitation, despite the current #EndSARS protest across the country, which made the youths to direct their anger at lawmakers.

He said: “I do not intend to disrespect you or your office in anyway, but Nigerians are there on the street calling the National Assembly out for the failure of our system. So, we will not attend to anyone other than the minister to appear himself. We would not accept anything less.”

The chairman said the House had mandated the committee to investigate the funds flowing into the Northeast from donor agencies and the manner of utilisation in the fight against insurgency.

The minister’s absence is reportedly delaying the committee’s investigation, he said.

“There is no need continuing without the person in charge of the ministry being here. We have a cordial relationship with the Executive, but we must be respected,” Karu said.

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