Say No Campaign, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations has commended National Assembly for its deciding to sanction Ministries, Departments and Agencies-(MDAs) who failed to submit their annual report for audit.
Mr Enzenwa Nwagwu,Co-convener,Say No Campaign in a statement in Abuja on Thursday said the group had earlier called for sanctions against MDAs who failed to comply with the constitutional mandate of submitting their annual audit report to the office of the Auditor General of the Federation.
“The news of the upper chamber’s summon of the erring MDAs right after the call by Say No Campaign and its anti-corruption cohorts to take action, is an indication of the readiness of the current leadership of the senate to work with Nigerians in the interest of the country.
“While we commend the senate for its prompt response, we are concerned that these errant MDAs might only receive a slap on their wrists for the gross violation of the constitution and the mismanagement of allocated resources.
“The laxity with which the executives of these MDAs are treating the issue, by failing to appear, in person, before the Auditor general to answer its query, confirms that even these MDAs expect to walk free,” he said.
Nwagwu said that the Senate Public Account Committee had given assurances that all erring MDAs would be probed and no ‘sacred cows’ would be spared.
He said that while this may sound reassuring, the senate had a lot to prove to win the confidence of Nigerians that indeed no sacred cow would be spared.
According to him, as it stands, the committee has begun meeting with the recalcitrant MDAs without the prying eye of Nigerians, especially the civil society organizations hence obstructing transparency.
Nwagwu said that the singular action has raised lots of questions about the committee’s intentions for meeting the MDAs, prior to their summoning to the floor of the senate.
He said that there was no gainsaying that previous assembly had failed to adequately oversight MDAs, monitor their performance or scrutinise their reports.
“The fact that we are dealing with 2017 audit report in 2020 is a testament to the obvious.
“The committee has pledged its commitment to clear backlogs of audit reports of MDAs from 2015 to 2018, make recommendations and transmit to the executive for proper sanctions,” he said.
Nwagwu said the action was apt and commendable,but urged the committee to be transparent in its enquiry; open its session to public participation and thorough in its report and recommendations.
He said that at the end of the day” we want to see individuals lose their jobs and others return unaccounted funds or go to jail. Anything short of this will translate into ‘business as usual.”he said
Nwagwu urged the 9th Assembly, unlike its predecessors, to be proactive in discharging its duties.
He said that the practice of late submission or non compliance with financial obligations by MDAs should be addressed.
This,he said was not only through the passage of the Federal Audit Bill, but also by being regular in its summons of MDAs and intentional in exerting sanctions with deterrent effects.
He said that the senate had an opportunity to improve the public sector and groom a culture of accountability and prudence adding that Nigerians hoped that they would not be disappointed.
Edited By: Ali Baba-Inuwa