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Eric Omare, the President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), has taken a swipe at the National Assembly “for reducing the budget estimate for the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko, the East West Road and other key projects in the recently signed 2018 budget.”
The IYC President stressed, “the federal government included the sum of five billion naira for the take-off of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State but was reduced to 3.4 billion naira by the National Assembly in the budget that was passed.
“However, the National Assembly increased its own budget with billions of naira.
“We consider the action of the National Assembly as insensitive and retrogressive to the development of the country.
“It is utter selfishness for the National Assembly to reduce the budget proposal for key developmental initiatives and increased the budget for their personal cost when they are supposed to reduce their recurrent expenses.
“We condemn this action by the National Assembly. The National Assembly demonstrated selfishness and arrogated their personal interest over and above the national interest which they were elected to serve.”
Going down memory lane, Omare said: “It would be recalled that the immediate take-off of the Nigerian Maritime University, Delta State was one of the key agreements reached between the leaders of the Niger Delta region and the federal government towards returning peace back to the region.
“It was in furtherance of this agreement that the five billon naira was budgeted for the take-off of the university which we the stakeholders in the Niger Delta region consider grossly inadequate because of the difficult terrain where the university is sited.
“The Nigeria Maritime University, Delta State needs a lot of money for it to find its footing especially at this initial stage of its existence in developing key physical infrastructure and engagement of qualified personnel to run the university.
“In the same vein, the East West Road project is a key project to the Niger Delta region in that it runs through all the six states of the South South region.
“Therefore, it is the height of insensitivity for the national assembly to reduce the budget for the East West Road. It would be recalled that it was the same National Assembly that reduced the budget of the East West Road after the death of Umaru Yar’Adua when Jonathan became President which greatly affected the execution of the project.
“The IYC is compelled to ask if the members of the National Assembly were elected to serve the interest of the generality of Nigerians or their personal and selfish and personal interest.
“There is no single reason why member of the national Assembly would reduce the budget for key developmental initiatives like the Maritime University, East West Road, Mambilla Power Project, Completion of Enugu International airport Project among others and increased their own budget. This is to say the least condemnable.
“Consequently, we call on President Buhari to hasten the process of sending the supplementary budget to the National Assembly which should make adequate financial provision for the East West Road, the Maritime University, Delta State and other key developmental projects in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.”
By Abai Francis
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