Fund shortage may affect plans for Niger Delta, says Akpabio

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Sunday Aborisade, Abuja

The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has expressed the fears that paucity of funds might affect President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), from meeting his plans for the Niger Delta region.

The minister stated this on Tuesday while defending his ministry’s 2021 budget proposal before the Senate Committee on Niger.Delta Affairs.

The minister solicited the assistance of the Committee to increase the ministry’s budgetary allocation.

Akpabio said the N26.6bn proposed for the Ministry of Niger Delta for 2021 was meagre and significantly inadequate in the face of the mandate and goals of the ministry to meet the yearnings of the people of the Niger Delta region.

He said “The capital estimate reveals that the sum of N15,,000,000,000 out of N19,533,720,033 for capital infrastructure project was allocated to the East -West Road (Sections I- IV) alone, on the order of Mr President. This leaves N4,533,720,033 for the other infrastructural projects.”

Akpabio said the “gross inadequate funding has led to; derailment of the programmes of engagement of youths and women of the region.”

He said, “It has reduced training for knowledge acquisition, poor performance and protracted delay in project delivery and intermittent disruption by youths who chase away contractors from sites.”

‘Ogoni cleanup, FG’s priority in 2021’

The Minister of the Environment, Mohammad Abubakar, has said the Ogoni cleanup would top the ministry’s priority in 2021.

He spoke while defending his ministry’s 2021 budget proposals before the Senate Committee on Environment.

He said his ministry was currently tackling environmental issues including oil spills, among others.

The ministry had a total allocation of N8.9bn for capital projects in the 2021 budget.

He said, “Three weeks ago, we were able to complete six remediated sites that are being certified by National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency right now.

“I think about three or four more are in the pipeline to be completed and certified and the remaining 15 sites of the first 21 are being worked on seriously and we completion very soon.”

He said the cleanup of Ogoni was ongoing adding that “it is one of the main projects of this administration.”

Senate excuses security agencies from budget defence

The Senate Committee on Interior on Tuesday received the budgets of the Federal Fire Service, and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, for 2021

The panel did not subject them to questions after presenting their budget proposals to allow them to attend to the current #EndSARS security challenges in parts of the country.

The Senate panel decision to excuse the two security agencies followed a suggestion by Senator George Sekibo.

Sekibo said, “There should be no need to keep any of the security agencies at the National Assembly for too long at this time when their attentions are required on the streets.”

The Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Kashim Shettima agreed with Sekibo and allowed the security agencies to take their eave. Copyright PUNCH.
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