May 12, 2021

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Hadi Sirika Apologizes For Delay In Budget Consideration

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Senator Hadi Abubakar Sirika, Minister of Aviation

Hadi Sirika, the Minister of aviation, whose team comprising of Chief Executives of six aviation agencies were turned down today, Thursday, by the House of Representatives committee on aviation, for presenting the ministry’s 2021 budget document less than two hours to its consideration by the legislators, did tender an unreserved apology for the seemingly shoddy manner the scenario presented the actual fact of the development.

In the committee room, the minister acknowledged that three previously scheduled meetings with the legislators could not hold not because of a fault of his, but because of unforeseen occurrence when the dates were being fixed, such as the #ENDSARS protest and the Eid-Maulud, public holiday.

He took the committee members down the memory lane on the circumstances for the cancellations in the following comment, “My first apology, Mr Chairman, is that I and the committee, as represented by you, fixed a date for concession hearing and that date coincided with the date that Mr President said we should all go back home for the #EndSARS protest.”

Narrating in the presence of all committee members present, Sirika further shed light on what actually transpired thus, “A new date was agreed between you ( Hon Nnaji Nnolim) and me and that date, unfortunately, fell on Eid-Maulud, on a Thursday.”

On another rescheduled date, making it the third, the Minister revealed thus, “And then, yet, again, another date was set and that date was the date that the Senate had put for (public hearing on six bills) the aviation bills that have been on for about five years”.

The only aviator who holds the portfolio as Minister of Aviation since about four decades, humbly declared to the legislators, “I like to tender (my) apology to this committee which I served between 2003 and 2007.”

On the rationale for submitting the budget document to the legislative chambers a few hours to the start of the meeting, the Minister could not even fathom yet, he equally rendered apology. His words, “The second apology is that the Permanent Secretary would have been here to explain the reason we got the invitation to supply this document a week ago and is coming just this morning. The third apology is for whatever would have been the reason why the documents came to you this morning, having clear six working days to do so”.

Honourable Nnaji Nnolim, Chairman, House Committee on Aviation

Before the Minister’s appeal for a new and sacrosanct date, a member of the committee, Honourable, Aminu Suleiman, had stated that “engagements on a budget go beyond instant presentation and comprehension as the lawmakers need to study the content to make useful inputs.”

He added that “If we proceed to take this, it presupposes that we know very little about our work. How can an exercise of this nature be conducted with an on-the-spot presentation of reports? We have to tell ourselves the truth.”

Aminu Suleiman declared, “We ask the minister and the agencies to come back; it is not intended to denigrate their persons, it is intended to equip us to do this job so that Nigerians will begin to take us seriously. We should have the opportunity to digest the report, make contributions, and assist the ministry even beyond what is presented in the envelope. If we don’t have that, truly speaking, we are not even helping the Ministry at all.”

Consequently, a motion for an acceptable date was moved by Honourable Ndukwe Nkole, “that the minister go back with the documents, do the necessary tidying up and come back to us next week Wednesday, for appropriate legislative engagement.”

However, in an effort to avert the fate that had befell previous dates and in which the meeting could not hold, the Aviation Minister volunteered the following contribution in other to achieve a date that will be more feasible.

Hadi Sirika now took the floor, “However, I just want to plead that you kindly indulge us to give us any date that is not Wednesday because I stood down a memorandum that I would have delivered yesterday in the Federal Executive Council to be at National Assembly. Yet, again, next Wednesday, I will miss the opportunity to present that very important memorandum. Kindly indulge us to come back next Thursday.”

Hence, Hon. Ndukwe Nkole motion was fine-tuned and the motion was unanimously adopted by the committee, rescheduling the ministry of aviation 2021 budget consideration and the review of 2020 budget performance to next week Thursday, 12th November 2020, by 11 am.

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