The Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) yesterday summoned the Minister of Works and Housing, Raji Fashola, to appear before it in person over grey areas in the budget of his ministry.
Fashola who was earlier billed to appear before the committee by 12noon on Monday however delegated the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, to represent him.
The committee unanimously described the action of the Minister as unacceptable and refused to interact with the Minister of state who stood in for him.
Aliyu has told the committee that Fashola travelled to attend some urgent matters of state.
However, the Committee led by Senator Aishatu Dahiru Ahmed Binani was adamant and insisted that the committee would only take submissions from the senior minister.
Senator Aishatu said that the panel had no other alternative than to reject any submissions from the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Abubakar Aliyu, who was before the committee to represent Fashola.
She said that replies to the letters the Committee exchanged with the Ministry on the issue at stake were personally signed by Fashola and wondered why he chose to travel after he had been duly invited by the Committee.
The committee unanimously resolved to turn down the Minister of State and adjourned to await Fashola by 2pm yesterday. Fashola did not show up at the end of the day.
Earlier, the Minister of State for Works and Housing, Engr. Aliyu, extended the apologies of Fashola to the committee who he said had travelled for an urgent national assignment.
He however said he was sent by Fashola to stand in for him, saying he was ready to address the concerns of the Committee.
A member of the Committee, Senator Teslim Folarin said it was wrong for Fashola to have traveled without appearing before the committee in spite of the President’s directive barring ministers from traveling or absenting themselves from the budget defence sessions of the National Assembly.
However, in apparent reply to the remarks by Senator Folarin, the Minister of State for Works said that Fashola duly sought for clearance and the permission of the President to embark on the journey.
Senator Godiya Akwashiki said that the committee is unanimous that Fashola should appear before it in person.
Other members of the Committee present at the session included Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, Senator Danladi Sankara, Senator Lekan Mustapha and Senator Gabriel Suswam.