There was a mild drama at the upper legislative chamber, the Senate when the Ministry of Defence through the minister, Major General Bashir Magashi (rtd) and the Parmanent Secretary, Dr.Ibrahim Kana disowned over N11 billion allegedly inserted into the proposed 2023 budget of the ministry.
The drama began when the Senate Committee on Defence uncovered the alleged insertion during the defence of the proposal for spending estimates presented to it by the minister and other officials of the ministry.
The alleged insertion, which was detected by the vice chairman of the committee, Senator Itsifanus Gyang, comprises N8.6 billion earmarked for procurement of military hardwares/ equipment and N2.25billion for Safe School Initiatives. Commenting on the development, Gyang stated that “Hon Minister, in the proposed 2023 budget of your Ministry N8.6billion is discovered to have been allocated for purchase of military hardwares and N2.25billion for Safe School Initiatives.
“The two items, when critically viewed, were not supposed to be in the Ministry’s budget since hardware procurements are done by the Army, Navy and Air Force and Safe School Initiative by the Federal Ministry of Education. These to us are duplications of budgetary votes which require explanations from you.” Responding to the query, the Minister sought for permission of the Committee for the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Dr Ibrahim Abubakar Kana, to respond.
Kana told the committee that the sums were inserted into the ministry’s budget by the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed. “The two budgetary votes were not initiative of the Ministry. The Ministry of Finance and National Planning put them there,” he said.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, told the Minister that both the N8.6 billion and N2.25 billion proposals for procurement of hardwares and Safe School Initiatives, would be expunged from the Ministry’s budget.