By Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives has set up an ad hoc committee to investigate the alleged diversion of north-east development fund to the implementation of Bama Initiative (BI).
The House also urged that, the BI fund should be remitted to the Presidential Committee on North-East Initiative (PCNI) for proper mandatory execution.
The resolution of the House was sequel to a motion under matters of national public importance sponsored by Rep. Muhammad Abdu (Bauchi-APC).
Moving the motion, Rep Abdu expressed concern over alleged intended abnormal movement of appropriated North-East intervention fund meant to be domiciled and utilised by PCNI and that of Consolidated Pool Account domiciled in the office of Accountant General of the Federation.
He explained that the above funds to be moved to a Special Account was meant to fund a pilot project called the BAMA Initiative.
“The Bama Initiative as conceived is not meant to be handled by the statutory PCNI but by two non-statutory, special committees floating between the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the Presidency.
“The Twenty-Eight Billion Naira, N18 billion from PCNI Account and N10.0billion from consolidated Pool Account are not being moved through proper and approved regulated financial flow systems of the government (supplementary budget, virement and direct capital release).
“The House is worried that if the movement of funds is allowed to go through, it will lead to serious breaches of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Appropriation Act and the Financial Regulation and Extant Rules of the Services of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “
The motion was unanimously adopted by members when it was put to a voice vote by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara.
The House therefore urged president to graciously direct the immediate stoppage of the movements of the funds and restore law and order in the system.
It also urged president to graciously assent to the North East Development Commission (NEDC) Bill before him and expedite immediate take-off of the Agency for comprehensive institutional management of the North-East Re-development.
city, Laolu Akande, yesterday, the focus of the hub will be to address challenges faced by persons in the region.
Some of those challenges, he stated, included Nutrition and Food Security, Early Recovery and Economic Security (Diversifying Livelihoods), Camp Coordination and Management, Education (innovative and creative learning solutions) and Health (innovation which addresses the health issues faced by pregnant women, children and communities in the region).
Another critical area of focus in the hub would be the protection of women and children (Gender-based violence: innovative and preventive measures).
“The establishment of the proposed hub for the North-East is being driven by the National Social Investment Office working with the Presidential Committee for the North-East Initiatives (PCNI), the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and in partnership with the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC). It will serve as a Humanitarian Innovation Hub and be situated in Yola, Adamawa State.
Generally, eight private sector-led Innovation Hubs are slated to be established across the country; one in each of the six geo-political zones and one each in Lagos and Abuja, with the main objective of fostering innovation in the country through the National Social Investment Office.
The proposed innovation hubs would also serve to, among other things, provide training of varied IT skills, empowering youth for entrepreneurship and employment. Additionally, the hubs would provide a platform at an entrepreneurial level for support from the venture capital sector as well as create job opportunities for graduates and trainees at the Hub.