The Senate on Wednesday threatened zero budgetary allocation for over 100 Ministries, Departments and Agencies if they fail to appear before the Public Accounts Committee within the next one week.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, gave this warning after reeling out over 100 names of “recalcitrant MDAs” evading summons submitted to him at plenary by the Chairman, Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC), Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP – Edo South).
Senator Urhoghide had through a point of order, drew the Senate’s attention to the “vehement refusal” of the affected agencies to appear before his committee to respond to queries raised against them by the Auditor General of the Federation since 2015.
He said all efforts to get the accounting officers of the affected MDAs to defend the queries had proved abortive.
Urhoghide said: “The agencies that have vehemently refused to appear before our committee, this list of agencies and the amount that is against their name are staggering.
“I crave your indulgence that we invite them through your order either by way of warrant of arrest or anything so that these agencies can come so that we can complete our report and submit to this Senate.”
In his reaction, Lawan said: “I have some idea of what you are talking about. My worry is that when you write them to appear and the person failed, there should be a correspondence.
“When they fail to appear, you give a new date. When they fail to appear, we won’t give them any money . We hold their budget, until they come.
“Any public officer must be willing to give account before the National Assembly. If they feel too big, they should be wiling to quit.
“Coming under Order 42, 95 which clearly explain the mandate of the Committee on Public Accounts of the Senate, your point of order is sustained fully and completely.