Senate suspends Defence budget over minister’s refusal to honour summons
The Senate on Tuesday refused to consider the 2023 budget for the Ministry of Defence, over the failure of the Minister, Bashiru Magashi to honour invitations extended to him by the Senate Adhoc Committee on the resuscitation of the Nigerian Navy ship (NNS ARADU), which is the largest on the fleet of the Navy.
The Senate through its Committee on Defence reached the decision after an interjection by former Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North), drawing the attention of other members of the Committee to an earlier action of the senate summoning the Minister of Defence to come before its Adhoc Committee to give explanations concerning the Naval ship.
According to Abdullahi, a motion was raised on the floor of the Senate chamber in February on the need to resuscitate the NNA Aradu, which is Nigeria’s flagship and most powerful in the fleet of the Nigerian Navy.
He reminded the lawmakers that Senate subsequently set up an Adhoc Committee chaired by him to interface with the Minister of Defence with a view to finding ways to resuscitate the grounded NNS Aradu.
Senator Abdullahi said the Minister has refused to honour all three invitations forwarded to him by his Adhoc Committee in the last three months.
The powerful naval ship is owned by only three countries in the world, Germany, Argentina and Nigeria.
Abdullahi said the ship is designed to protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity, pointing out that while other countries have maintained their flagship that represents the strength of the navy, that of Nigeria remained grounded.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, Senator Aliu Wamakko, also spoke extensively on the need to urgently resuscitate the Navy ship, subsequently asked the Minister of Defence to go with the budget and return only after he cleared himself with the Senate Adhoc Committee.