Nigeria's Red-Chair parliamentarians are wielding the big stick.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki has threatened to dissolve all the ad-hoc Committees in the Senate if they fail to conclude their assignments before the end of January.

Saraki made this known after a closed door session, which lasted for an hour.

He accused some of the ad-hoc committees of operating through the back door like standing committees of the Senate.

He said:  “All ad-hoc committees must conclude their assignments or be dissolved before the ending of January.

“They have been going through the back door to become like standing committees.”

Some of the ad-hoc committees are Committee on the Review of Security Infrastructures of Nigeria and Committee on Reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina into Public Service.

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The Senate also came down hard on its Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) for turning out a shoddy report on alleged illegal fuel subsidy payment.

The Senate had directed the committee to resume from its end of the year break and conduct investigation into the persistent fuel scarcity and the alleged subsidy payment.

However, at the investigative hearing held on January 4, the chairman of the committee, Senator Kabiru Marafa, curiously removed probe of the alleged subsidy payment from the agenda.

Those that were invited to the hearing include: the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu and the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.

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Also invited were the various oil marketing groups.

After going through the report on the hearing, as submitted by the Marafa -led committee, the senators discovered that the report was silent on the alleged illegal subsidy payment.

Both Kachikwu and Baru had stated before the committee that the landing cost for petrol is N171 per litre, while the product is being sold at an official price of N145 per litre.

They admitted that the cost differential of N26 per litre is being paid by government as subsidy without stating who authorised the payment.

Thus, it is obvious that the subsidy is being paid without appropriation by the National Assembly.

Faulting the report, the lawmakers said the document failed the integrity and credibility test by not revealing those that authorized the subsidy payment. 

After a lengthy debate, the Senate subsequently directed the committee to go back and do a more thorough investigation on the actual volume of petrol being imported into the country as well as identify causes of the perennial fuel scarcity.

The Senate also directed its committee on Public Accounts to complement the Marafa committee by conducting an open investigation into payments and receipts in new fuel subsidy regime

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