Osun Assembly tackles Senate, says NASS lacks power to probe bailout fund

Osun State House of Assembly questioned the authority of the Senate on the National Assembly’s plan to probe the bailout fund disabused to Osun state for the payment of salaries and pensions.

The state assembly stated that the attempt of the Nigeria Senate to probe the application of N28.1 billion bailout fund given to the state government was an usurpation of power of the state parliament.

The Chairman, House Committee on Information, Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, in a statement said the Assembly made the declaration at the plenary on Wednesday following a matter of urgent public importance raised by Chairman, House Committee on Finance and Appropriation, Kamil Oyedele on propriety of the senate to probe the bailout fund.

The senate has reportedly written a letter to the state government on its decision to visit the state to probe the fund and its disbursement.

While raising the matter, according to the statement, Oyedele said by Section 128 of the Constitution, the state Assembly is the arm of government empowered to carry out such probe, saying, the senate was only attempting to usurp the power of the state parliament.

According to him, there was a budgetary provision for the application of the fund and the state legislature was carrying out its oversight function by monitoring the fund.

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The statement then urged the Assembly to invite the state government officials and other bodies in charge of disbursement of the fund, with a view to investigating the fund, instead of waiting for the Nigerian Senate to usurp its power.

The Speaker, Honourable Najeem Salaam, the statement noted, said, the state parliament was not at loggerhead with the senate, but it must work within the limit of its power in accordance with the constitution.

According to him, in a federation like Nigeria, each of the federating unit has it limit and responsibility, saying, the state Assembly has been carrying out this responsibility, especially on the bailout fund and other state finances.

The speaker was quoted as saying, “We are in a federation and the federating units are co-partner, none of the unit is subservient and each of these unit has its limit, hence, the decision of the senate to look into the accounts of this state is out of it.

“The state government has the authority of this parliament to get the fund and if there is any issue, we are the ones empower to probe and make a recourse to the National Assembly if there is need for such.

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“As I am talking, we have not received any letter from the senate relating to the issue of bailout fund as colleagues. Probably the senate has forgotten that we are colleague, only areas of jurisdiction are differ.

“It must be noted that this fund is a loan that would be paid back, not grant and there are budgetary provisions for it. As as result, the state parliament is monitoring it, but with the action of the senate, it seem we need to make the monitoring open.

While advising the senate to focus more on issues affecting the National to assist President Muhammadu Buhari in his change agenda, he directed that the Senate should be communicated to step back while the state Assembly investigates the matter.

He also directed the state Accountant-General, Permanent Secretary of Finance, Permanent Secretary of Budget, Permanent Secretary on Local Government, the Debt Management Office, as well as the Wema Bank, First Bank and Zenith bank to forward the details and the account statements on the fund to the house and appear for its consideration on Wednesday, December 7.

By Lateef Dada, Osogbo

 

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