By Albert Akota
A civil society organization (CSO), focusing on internal peace, security and good governance in Nigeria, Peace and Anti-corruption Advocacy (PAA) has called for an upward review of the 2020 budget of Ministry of Interior and its agencies.
The CSO described as paltry and unsustainable, the allocation of N35 billion to the ministry.
A statement made available to newsman in Abuja yesterday, jointly signed by its Director-General and National Coordinator, Prince Mike Newgent Ekamon and Comrade James Okoronkwo lamented that the 2020 Budget presented by President Muhammadu Buhari was inadequate to service the Ministry of Interior and to sustain the projections of its agencies.
The statement appealed to the National Assembly for an upward review of the allocation to the ministry maintaining that as the backbone of internal wellbeing of Nigeria, the Ministry of Interior is very pivotal to the change agenda of the Buhari administration.
The CSO noted that it “may be constrained to make presentations during the budget hearings to drive home our demand for increased allocation to the ministry.”
In a related development, PAA commended the Commandant-General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Alhaji Abdullahi Muhammdu Gana, for the successful take off of its Agro Rangers policy which according to the CSO has boosted food production in Nigeria.
The group cited the policy amongst others as part of their reasons for increased allocation to the Interior Ministry.
The group further argued that similar, laudable reformation programs were also on going in another agency of the ministry, namely Nigerian Correctional Services (former Nigerian Prison Service), where its Comptroller General, Mallam Jafaru Isah was executing various reformation and revamping of the Services.
He said: “It will be a disservice to Nigerian taxpayers if some of these capital projects are again abandoned midway for paucity of funding,”
He further appealed to President Buhari and the National Assembly to find it expedient to extend the tenure of the NSCDC and Nigerian Correctional
Services bosses to enable the successfully conclude their reformative and renewal programmes.
PAA also reiterated its earlier commendation to President Buhari for choosing a tested and trusted personality as Minister of the Interior Ministry, a technocrat like Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.
“Ogbeni Aregbesola’s sterling record of quality project delivery, accountability and transparency would definitely impact positively on the Buhari administration,” the group affirmed.