On Wednesday, the House of Representatives accused President Muhammadu Buhari’s ministers and other appointees of undermining the government’s attempts to combat systemic corruption.
The House said that Buhari’s lieutenants were working against him, to put it briefly.
During the 2023 budget defense session with the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation, the chairman of the House’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Hon. Wole Oke, delivered the reprimand.
But this came when Andrew Onwudili, the Auditor General of the Federation, revealed that although his office had requested a N5.112 billion budget for 2023, the budget office had only authorized a total of N11.151 billion.
He said that the office had recommended N3.041 billion for staff costs compared to N2.349 billion in the budget, N5.59 billion for overhead costs compared to N2.113 billion, and N2.52 billion for capital expenditures compared to N62.70 million in the budget estimates.
The committee chairman was reportedly incensed by the statistics and became irate with the country’s fiscal policy makers, accusing them of not doing enough to combat corruption with what he called the “supreme institution.”
According to Oke, the Independent Corruption Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are only supplemental in the fight against corruption.
As a result, the committee called Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, Sylva Okolieaboh, the acting comptroller general of the federation, Ben Nwabueze, the director general of the budget office of the federation, and Folashade Yemi-Esan, the head of service, and gave them seven days to appear and defend the poor state of the office’s budget.
Oke said, “It is very important at this point in time to state clearly observations. We want to observe that, the government of President Buhari was elected based on his promise, determination to tame corruption, to humble corruption in our country.
“And one of the institutions, as a matter of fact, the fundamental institution which the crafters of our constitution put in place under Section 85 is the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. By Act of the Parliament, we have created ancillary institutions like ICPC, EFCC to work with the products, with the findings of the Office of the Auditor General’s office after due consideration by the Parliament.
“It is very unfortunate that we have noticed the concerted effort, determination to undermine the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation. To eradicate, to repeal illegally the supreme audit institution of this country. We have seen the determination of the lieutenants of Mr President, particularly the minister of finance, the DG Budget office to undermine Mr President in his determination to wage war against corruption on the land.”