Shame of Nigeria: lawmakers order Nigeria tourism minister to refund N1.4bn


LAGOS, Nigeria (eTN) – Having just survived cabinet reshuffle, the Nigerian House of Representatives on Thursday told Nigerian Culture, Tourism and National Orientation Minister Prince Adetokunbo Kayode to return N2.4 billion (US$20.4 million) to the Consolidated Revenue Account his ministry overspent in the 2008 Amended Budgetary Allocation.

Nigeria’s House Committee on culture and tourism gave the minister, who appeared before it, the order on Thursday. The chairman of the committee, KGB Oguakwa, said the refund became necessary because the 2008 amended budget passed in October by the National Assembly approved N2 billion for the ministry’s use, whereas it expended a sum of N3.4billion as approved in the initial budget.

Oguakwa stated that in certain respect, the ministry was supposed to spend N116 million as allowed in the amended budget but had spent N210 million by September of the current year. The chairman expressed the committee’s disappointment with the ministry for lack of respect for the House and for not carrying it along in its programs.

“It is incredible that such a major national tourism engagement as the Abuja Carnival 2008, an event for which we appropriated funds in excess of N350 million, is at hand, and the MDAs saddled with its execution have not deemed it fit to, a few days to its kick-off, brief or even invite the representatives of the Nigerian people,” Oguakwa noted.

In a telephone conversation with the chairman of the 2008 Abuja Carnival, Professor Ahmed Yerima, he noted and lamented that he has not been given a single money for any meaningful program that can enhance the success of the coming event.

The 62-year-old culture and art guru said he has no single cash to even invite local and foreign journalists that could help publicize the coming and subsequent future editions of the Abuja Carnival.

With the House of Representative ordering the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and National Orientation to refund money that have been lavished on something else, one wondered what the ministry has done with such a huge amount of money in the pace of a few months.

The carnival is scheduled to take place from November 20-24, 2008.

(US$1.00=117.52 Nigerian naira)