By Femi Ogunshola
Abuja, Oct. 20, 2020 Rep Idris Kabiru, Chairman, Reps Standing Committee on Civil Society and Development Partner, on Tuesday expressed displeasure with the absence of Prince Clems Agba, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, from its investigative hearing.
Agba had again failed to appear before the House of Representatives Committee investigating donor fund in the North East which the committee identified as a stumbling block to its work.
Kabiru said that the minister did not deem it fit to appear before the committee after several postponements, neither did he send any communication or letter stating that he would not be attending.
He said that the committee would not be able to carry on with its investigative role without the minister, adding that there was certain information the committee needed to obtain.
According to him, the permanent secretary can represent the minister and not the Deputy Director as sent by the minister and any apology from the Deputy Director is unacceptable.
Kabiru said that the committee had written severally to the minister but he remained undaunted, stating that there were lots of questions for the minister.
“We need to investigate what is going on in his office, the letter inviting him was not written to the Deputy Director but the minister manning the office,’’ he said.
He said there was no point carrying on with the committee’s investigation without the presence of the minister, adding that Nigerians expected to know what was going on in his office.
The chairman called for the adjournment of the meeting, adding that the minister must respect the next sitting.
Rep Karu Elisha, a member of the committee said that Nigerians were all over protesting and accusing the National Assembly of corruption but some ministers would fail to honour its invitation during investigation.
He said that NASS would no longer take any form of embarrassment when it invited any government officials and such invitee failed to honour it.
He said that the committee would reject the report presented by the Deputy Director unless the minister made himself available.
Mr Oluseyi Faduyi, Deputy Director, international Corporation, ministry of Budget and National Planing, said the minister had made several attempts to appear before the committee but could not make it.
He, however, apologised on behalf of the minister, adding that the minister made spirited efforts to attend Tuesday’s sitting but all to no avail.