Budget… Senate Suspends Budget Defence Over Nationwide Vandalism, Looting

Senate Committee on Interior on Tuesday suspended budget defence over the spate of attacks, vandalism and looting carried out by some youth in parts of the country following the hijack of the #Endsars campaign by hoodlums.

The committee said it cannot hold paramilitary agencies which can support security agencies to calm the sporadic unrest in the country at the national assembly complex over budget defence when their attentions are urgently needed in different parts of the country given the activities of some errant youths who have taken to the streets to vandalize and loot public and private properties.

The Federal Fire Service and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) had appeared before the committee to present their expenditure on the ongoing 2020 budget and defend their proposal for the 2021 budget.

However, upon calling the meeting to order, Senator George Sekibo (PDP) Rivers East raised a point of order and informed the Senate that the two agencies are critical to restoring law and order in the territory and other parts of the country, therefore, they should be excused to go and carry out their constitutional mandate and engender peace in the country.

This view was supported by other members of the committee and the Chairman of the Committee Senator Kashim Shetimma ruled in favour of the motion and directed that the two agencies should return to their offices and do their jobs.

“This budget defence is hereby stepped down,” Shetimma ruled.

Sekibo had argued that while other public properties have been attacked offices of the agencies have also come under attacks by hoodlums, thus, the need for the agencies to have the compliment of its entire manpower in place to ward off threats to public facilities.

Addressing journalists after Chairman, Senate Committee on Interior, Senator Kashim Shetimma said the attention of the paramilitary personnel are needed to control the break down of law and order in the country, so the committee as a responsible organ of the Senate would not keep them of an emergency they should handle.

“Those paramilitary organisations, the Federal fire service and the Civil Defence submitted their budgets containing details of expenditure, we have received them and will subject them to public scrutiny and when the need arises we will call them back to shed more light.

“In the light of the growing challenges and the issue of the pandemic we felt compel not to dissipate their useful time and energy answering a lot of questions from us.

“If there is need for them to appear before us as we said earlier, we will call them back and subject them to scrutiny.

“We have the budget and there are explanations on how the funds are expended, if we want additional information we will inquire from them but right now some of their organisation are being attacked some of their offices were burnt down, so how do you expect us to hold them to ransome here while there are needs for them to attend to outside.

“There are no compelling issues to hold them here,” Shetimma submitted.

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