The House of Representatives Committee on Public Accounts has directed a status inquiry on Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over the agency’s claim of not having management accounts between 2012 and 2017.
Chairman of the committee, Rep. Wole Oke gave the directive during an investigative hearing into the presentation of audit reports of ministries, departments and agencies, yesterday.
The committee is investigating the deliberate and reckless refusal by non-treasury and partially funded agencies to render their audited accounts from 2014 to 2018 to Auditor-General of the Federation.
“You have management accounts and you have audited accounts. Are you saying you do not have management accounts for 2012 till 2017?
“DFA, get the two right. The management account is a document of NIMASA itself and that is the document and other primary accounts that you avail your auditors to vet and form their opinion.
“It will be very embarrassing for an agency such as NIMASA not to have management accounts from 2012. Then what are you doing there?’’, he asked.
The management of NIMASA was led by the Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki.
Oke also queried the agency’s non-remittance of its audited reports between 2015 and 2018 to the Office of the Auditor-General.
He added that the non-compliance by the agency to remit its audited reports stifled the federal government efforts in nation building.
He also expressed disappointment in the failure of the Director-General, NIMASA, Mr Dakuku Peterside, to appear before the committee.
“I will refer you to the provisions of our constitution; the constitution unambiguously placed this arm of government before other arms under Section 4.
“I got that letter and I replied him that he cannot put that engagement before the parliament because NIMASA has, on several occasions, disrespected this parliament.
“It is on that note that the committee resolved that the minister of state should cause appearance since, if he does not respect people, perhaps he will respect the minister.
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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