03 July 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Ijaw Youth Council, IYC worldwide, has explained why it rejected the budget cut by the National Assembly for the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, the East-West Road and other key developmental projects in the recently signed 2018 budget.
Recalled that the federal government said the sum of N5 billion was included for the take-off of the Maritime University but was reduced to N3.4 billion by the National Assembly in the budget that was passed last month. The National Assembly had, however, increased its own budget with billions of naira.
President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Mr. Eric Omare, said it was utter selfishness for the National Assembly to reduce the budget proposal for key developmental initiatives and increased the budget for their personal cost when they are supposed to reduce their recurrent expenses.
Omare explained that the immediate take-off of the Nigerian Maritime University, Delta State was one of the key agreements reached between the leaders of the Niger Delta region and the federal government towards returning peace back to the region.
“It was in furtherance of this agreement that the N5billon was budgeted for the take-off of the university which we the stakeholders in the Niger Delta region consider grossly inadequate because of the difficult terrain where the university is sited.
“The Nigeria Maritime University, Delta State needs a lot of money for it to find it footing especially at this initial stage of its existence in developing key physical infrastructure and engagement of qualified personnel to run the university.
“In the same vein, the East-West Road project is a key project to the Niger Delta region in that it runs through all the six states of the South-South region. Therefore, it is the height of insensitivity for the national assembly to reduce the budget for the East-West Road.
“It was the same National Assembly that reduced the budget of the East-West Road after the death of Umaru Yar’Adua when Jonathan became President which greatly affected the execution of the project.”
Omare, however, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to send a supplementary budget to the National Assembly which should make adequate financial provision for the Maritime University, the East-West Road and other projects in the region.
The Ijaw leader who wondered if members of the National Assembly were elected to serve the interest of the generality of Nigerians or their personal interest, said the action of the lawmakers remains insensitive and retrogressive to the development of the country.
“There is no single reason why members of the National Assembly would reduce the budget for key developmental initiatives like the Maritime University, East-West Road, Mambilla Power Project, Completion of Enugu International airport Project among others and increased their own budget. This is to say the least condemnable.
“Consequently, we call on President Buhari to hasten the process of sending the supplementary budget to the National Assembly which should make adequate financial provision for the East-West Road, the Maritime University, Delta State and other key developmental projects in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.”