Senate cancels funding for Patience Jonathan’s first ladies mission, approves FCT budget

First Lady, Patience Jonathan

Senator Smart Adeyemi says the Senate cannot appropriate funds for a land that is not available.

The Senate on Wednesday declined approval for the N4 billion allocation proposed by the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory for the construction of a building for the African First Ladies Mission, currently headed by Nigeria’s first lady, Patience Jonathan.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, Smart Adeyemi, stated this on Wednesday, while confirming that the Senate had passed the Abuja budget for 2013.

Mr. Adeyemi said the proposed N4 billion for construction of the first ladies mission building in Africa was distributed to critical needs in satellite towns. He said the money to be spent on the mission building could not be approved due to litigation on the proposed land.

Mr. Adeyemi said the Senate could not appropriate funds for a land that was not available.

An Abuja court had ruled that the land proposed by the FCT ministry for the first ladies’ building belonged to an organisation owned by Mrs. Jonathan’s predecessor, Turai Yar’Adua, after a protracted muddy legal battle.

The Abuja Minister, Bala Mohammed, had revoked the choice land from Mrs. Yar’Adua’s organisation and given it to first ladies’ mission; a decision the court upturned.

Abuja’s N260bn budget

The total amount passed as the 2013 budget for the Nigerian capital by the Senate is N259.6 billion.

A breakdown revealed that N48.6 billion was earmarked for personnel cost, N50.5 billion for overhead, while N160.4 billion was for capital expenditure.

Mr. Adeyemi, who presented the budget to the Senate, said that there was a surplus of N48.7 million. He said that the committee jostled with the budget estimates, deploying funds to meet areas of critical need like roads, water, health, education and development of satellite towns.

He said that 43 per cent performance was achieved from N306.4 billion appropriation of 2012.

“Most of the projects were still ongoing due to overbearing ineptitude of getting the Due Process Certificate.

“It is also observed that new and ongoing projects are not sufficiently funded due to delay in the release of funds as a result of bureaucratic bottlenecks,’’ Mrs. Adeyemi said.

The Senate President, David Mark, said: “though, FCT is supposed to be a model capital city, but unfortunately, things are not going well within the city.

“There is (no) development in the satellite towns and this has resulted in congestion of the city centre.

“I want to urge the committee to be more committed to its oversight function so that the passage of the budget will translate to development in the Nigerian capital,’’ Mark said.

(NAN)


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