Posted by Timige, On 5 Nov, 2023 | Updated On 6 Nov, 2023 No Comments »
There is a fresh rumble in the House of Representatives over the membership of the committee on Appropriation of the green chamber of the National Assembly.
LEADERSHIP learnt that the latest discontentment in the legislative chamber stemmed from an upsurge in the membership of the committee, a development considered as a negation of the house rules.
Already, the membership of the strategic committee had risen from the statutorily allowable figure by house rules of a maximum of 40 members to 57 members.
A more worrisome trends was the admission of some chairmen and deputies of other standing committees of the house as members of the committee.
The House Rules disallow chairmen and deputies of other standing committees to serve as members of the committee on appropriation.
Already, two chairmen of two other standing committees (names withheld) have found their way into the committees.
Similarly, LEADERSHIP gathered that in contravention of the rules, some of the states have more than one member in the committee.
For instance, Akwa-Ibom and Edo states have three members each while Ebonyi has two members in the committee.
LEADERSHIP gathered that more members of the house are still lobbying powerful forces in the Presidency and leadership of the lawmaking body to be admitted into the committee.
The committee, by the rules, is supposed to be made up of a chairman, a member from each of the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), all appointed at the caucus meetings of the states.
The committee is established by the standing orders of both chambers of the National Assembly, 10 in the case of the House of Representatives.
The committee is vested with the jurisdiction to appropriate funds for the execution of government programmes and projects as well as holding hearings on the budget as a whole.
Findings by LEADERSHIP revealed that virtually all House members are desperate to secure the membership of the committee because of the juicy opportunities its membership attracts, especially in terms of financial rewards and opportunities to smuggle projects into the budget for pecuniary gains.
One impeccable source in the House told this newspaper that members have come to evaluate the committee as a lifeline for heavy personal enrichment.
“There are about 57 members in the Appropriation committee of the House now and with the emergence of some chairmen and deputies of other committees forcing their way into the committee contravenes the standing rules of the house. More members are still lobbying to come into the appropriation. With the prevailing trend, membership of the committee may go above 100.
“The attraction is obvious. It’s a lifeline of the NASS as members have the opportunity of making extra funds
“The statutory members of the are now being sidelined and suffocated by the members who found their ways into the committee through the back doors. The committee is overloaded and this development is generating fresh ripples in the house,” added our source, who requested not to be named.
When contacted, House spokesman/chairman House committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Akin Rotimi Jr, however, insisted that the composition of various standing committees of the house was done in conformity with extant standing orders governing the operations of the legislative house.
Rotimi said, “The composition of the standing committees of the House have been done in sufficient compliance with the extant standing orders, and in line with the career backgrounds, qualifications, and cognate experience of honourable members, as well as the need to ensure geo-political balancing.
“The standing orders of the house are also being revised and due for debate on Thursday. It is thus preemptive for these insinuations that are not based on a review of the accurate list of members of any committee, nor the yet to be concluded revised standing orders that would guide the operations of the 10th assembly.”
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