Senators yesterday held diverse views over the authenticity of an alleged none remittance of N177bn operational surplus made by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) into the consolidated federation account.
The disagreement arose when a member of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport oversighting NPA’s operations, Senator Mohammed Hassan (PDP Yobe South) drew the attention of the Senate to it.
Anchoring his motion on Senate standing orders 42 and 52, Senator Hassan said the agency kept to itself N177bn operational surplus it made from accruing revenues in the 2017 fiscal years , without remitting it into the federation account, against provisions of the 1999 Constitution and Act establishing the NPA.
He said the committee discovered that NPA in its budget defence of the performance of the 2017 budget in April this year , got N303bn as total operational revenue out of which N125bn was taken by it as operational cost as allowed by extant laws but refused to remit the balance of N177bn realised as surplus into the federation account .
“This to me and by extension, the Senate , should not be condoned because the Committee discovered this seven months ago and ordered the agency to do the needful which it has not done up till now .
“Attention of the Senate is being drawn to this impunity because six months down the line , the agency has not complied with the directive of the committee or communicated to it on the matter in anyway “, he said .
Disagreement started when the Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah (APC Kebbi south), cautioned the senate from relying on the allegation made by Senator Mohammed Hassan.
He said there are three categories of income derivable into accounts of any public agencies while he advised the Senate that it would be premature for it to attach legislative seriousness to Senator Hassan’s allegation since the figures he quoted is not clear to be in the category of perceived income, drive income or accrued income.
Na’Allah said “Mr President, as a lawyer, I studied taxation law , we should not be in haste to conclude on the submission Senator Hassan has just made ” .
In the same vein, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, Senator Ahmed Sani Yerima ( APC Zamfara West) disassociated himself and other committee members from the allegation .
According to him, Senator Hassan as a member of the Committee, did not raise such an issue at any of the committee’sittings before raising the alarm on the floor of the Senate .
The former governor of Zamfara State said ” as Chairman of the committee, am not aware of this allegation raised against NPA by Senator Hassan and I don’t think any other member of the committee is aware as well ” .
In a swift move to douse tension, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa ( PDP Abia North), urged the senate leadership to compel the committee members to meet over it in before bringing it up for general debate on the floor of the Senate in line with procedures and process of law making .
Consequently, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki directed the committee chairman to meet with the entire members on the allegation and report back within three days.
He called the Senate to set up an adhoc committee to investigate the claims