Published On: Mon, Oct 21st, 2019

Budget defence: Secret sessions not mandated by Senate – Sen. Barau

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By Ikechukwu Okaforadi

The closed door session method being adopted by some of the Standing committees in the Senate to carry out 2020 budget defence sessions with heads of the various government agencies under their purview has been discountenanced by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation , Barau Jibrin ( APC Kano North).
Senator Barau who fielded questions from journalists on the issue, said Budget defence sessions are to be conducted in open session and not secret or closed door session as widely reported in the media.
“Neither the Senate as a body nor the Appropriation committee, coordinating the entire process, gave such a directive to any committee to hold budget defence session in secret with officials from the executive arm of government .
“I saw the story in the paper today and I’m not happy about it if actually the method was carried out by the affected committees.
“I know that such a trend will not continue from next week because Nigerians right from the budget defence sessions, supposed to know what and what the parliament and the executive are preparing or planning for them.
“The budgets being discussed or defended by the affected agencies , are more or less, for Nigerians , the very reason why such assignment should be carried out in the open with attendance of journalists who are to report the details of what transpired at each of the session “, he said .
He however clarified that closed door session may be held by committees over sighting the Military, Police and other security agencies at certain stages for security reasons .
His words “For security reasons , committees over sighting the various military outfits and Police , may at critical stage , hold closed door sessions but this is not expected from other committees especially on the issue of budget defence, being financial proposals meant for societal advancement”.

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