•Says poor oversight of 7th Assembly responsible for graft
From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Presidency has blamed alleged corruption in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the failure of the leadership of the Seventh National Assembly to carry out their oversight duty.
The presidency alleged failure of the immediate past National Assembly leadership led to corruption and stealing of public funds in the last administration.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, who addressed Senate Correspondents, yesterday, said lawmakers’ failure led to alleged siphoning of security funds in the office of the the National Security Adviser (NSA) and others, who served in the last administration.
He also claimed that the immediate-past minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke, allegedly had a free ride because the National Assembly failed to do its work.
Enang was a member of the Seventh Senate, where he served as chairman of Rules and Business committee. He defected from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2014.
“If the committees in the Seventh National Assembly were doing their work, by checking what was happening in the office of the NSA, the Petroleum Resources ministry, we will not have had Diezanigate and all the other gates. We will not have not had all the probes. Because the Legislature concentrated less, that is why we are having the spill that the Eighth Assembly is having. I feel guilty and I want to apologise. If the legislature did its duty, as it is doing now, I think we will not have this situation.”
Enang also spoke on budget padding and argued that it does not exist.
He said the National Assembly has the right to add or remove anything to the budget during consideration.
“In all my legislative years, padding is a new word in th legislative lexicon. So we have to define it as a new matter. In my opinion, padding is an illegal or unlawful insertion by a person who is not expected to do it in a legal, legislative document. Therefore, unless a bill has been passed and forwarded to Mr. President for assent, there can be no padding. If the bill had been forwarded to the president and something is inserted into that before it is assented to by any person and something is added different from what is in the votes and proceedings of the Senate and House of Representatives, that is what constitutes padding.”
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Senate committee on Local Content, Solomon Adeola, has disclosed how he was offered a vessel, to drop a petition seeking investigation of an international oil firm for allegedly flouting the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act in return.
The senator said this at a public hearing on a petition by Indigenous Ships Owners Association of Nigeria on alleged attempts to deny local shippers businesses after being commercially pre-qualified for almost five years process.
The committee invited the oil firm, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) and the petitioners to loo