Senate committees ignore Saraki, fail to submit reports two months after one-week ultimatum

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By QueenEsther Iroanusi

Despite the one-week ultimatum given to 14 ad-hoc committees by Senate President Bukola Saraki to submit their reports, most of them have failed to do so.

Mr Saraki had in November 2018, queried 14 ad-hoc committees, most of which were set up in 2017, and asked that their reports be submitted for consideration.

The Senate president gave a one-week ultimatum to the panels for them to complete their reports.

An ad-hoc committee is a committee formed for a specific task or objective and dissolved after the completion of the task or achievement of the objective.

In the upper chamber, these ad-hoc committees are set up by the Senate President or any other presiding officer.

Most of these ad-hoc committees are constituted after resolutions have been made on a matter of urgent national importance. At other times, the constitution of these ad-hoc committees is sequel to point of orders made by the lawmakers.

Some of the committees are assigned to probe issues of corruption and misconduct involving federal government ministries, departments and agencies, as well as public officials; and many of them have been on the assignment for over a year without submitting any report.

The panels are not just constituted, the chairperson and members of the committees are given a time frame to complete their task and present a report to the Senate.

Persistent Deadline Failure

Despite the amount of time issued to these ad-hoc committees, most of them fail to meet their deadlines. Some of them commence investigation but eventually abandon them.

The Panels

The 14 panels listed by Mr Saraki are:

-State of humanitarian efforts in the North-east: This committee was constituted on January 24, 2017, to investigate the ravaging crisis in the North-Eastern part of the country. It is chaired by David Umaru.

-National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) headed by Ahmad Lawan. The committee was constituted on March 21, 2017, to investigate the “unholy” activities of the embattled Executive Secretary of NHIS, Usman Yusuf.

– The attempted assassination of Dino Melaye: This committee, headed by Jibrin Barau was constituted on April 26, 2017, and was set up to investigate the alleged plan of the Nigerian Police and the Kogi State Government to assassinate Mr Melaye.

 

Delegation to Kogi State governor on the attempted assassination of Dino Melaye headed by Ike Ekweremadu and constituted on April 26, 2017.

-An investigation into the various allegations levelled against the Nigerian police: This committee is headed by Francis Alimikhena and was constituted on October 4, 2017, to investigate allegations of corruption against the former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

– An investigation into the various allegations against the NNPC: Headed by Aliyu Wammako and constituted on October 4, 2017. This committee was charged with the responsibility of carrying out a holistic investigation into charges of corruption levelled against Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the state oil firm, NNPC.

The committee, which was set up following a Senate resolution and public outcry, was given four weeks to submit its report. The deadline expired in November 2017.

– An investigation on the reappearance, irregularities, reinstatement and promotion of Abdulrashid A. Maina comprising of the chairpersons and vice chairpersons of the committees on establishment and public service, judiciary, human rights and legal matters, interior, and anti-corruption and financial crimes. The chairman of the committee is Emmanuel Paulker and it was constituted on October 24, 2017.

This committee was set up to investigate the controversial return and promotion of Abdulrasheed Maina, a former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Force Team. Although the joint committee commenced a public investigation, it is yet to submit its report.

– Arrest episode of Tuesday, November 21, 2017, between the officers of EFCC, NIA, and DSS: This committee, headed by Francis Alimikhena was constituted on November 27, 2017, and asked to probe into the clash between operatives of the State Security Service and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The committee had commenced an investigative hearing in December 2017 but is yet to submit its report.

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