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Tinubu directs review of inherited road projects to ensure probity



President Bola Tinubu has directed that all projects that require additional funding, especially major projects of the Ministry of Works, be reviewed to ensure probity, proficiency and diligence in execution.

Alhaji Mohammed Idris, Minister of Information and National Orientation, said this while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, on Wednesday.

He said the Council decided to step down projects under the ministry of works inherited by the Tinubu administration, which required cost adjustments and variation.

He said the President directed that the memos presented to the Council by Mr David Umahi, Minister of Works, be looked at once again so that there would be further deliberation at the next council meeting.

He explained that the idea was to re-examine, especially those parts that required augmentation or review.

He said the Minister of Works was directed to work with the Minister of Budget and Economic Planning and the Minister of Finance to look at those projects again and bring them strictly in line with budgetary provisions.

According to him, where there is a necessity for additional funding, this will be brought back to the Council meeting next time for further deliberation.

He said the Council also discussed the National Council on Procurement, which had not been effective in the last 17 years.

Consequently, he said the President had submitted a bill to the National Assembly, which had scaled through the first reading at the House of Representatives.

“The whole idea is to ensure that we have a robust National Council on Procurement that will look at all aspects of procurement, and to bring every project into the fiscal financial discipline that the President is always talking about,” said the minister.

He said there was also a discussion on the report by the Daily Trust Newspaper. “Recall that we have commented about this in the past and the position of government on that report.

“The Federal Government insists that the report on the LGBT or the so-called Samoa Agreement was misleading, it was false and it was designed to create confusion in the land.

“My ministry has also briefed the Federal Executive Council on all the steps that we have taken, including writing to the industry’s own Ombudsman with a view to drawing the attention of Daily Trust Newspapers to that very misleading report,” he said.

He said that the Council expected the industry’s Ombudsman to look at the issue dispassionately, and that the Council would be patient to await the report of the Ombudsman.

“But suffice it to say that Federal Government views that report or that story by the Daily Trust Newspaper very seriously and is urging members of Nigerian press to please report responsibly in the interest of our country.

“The Council also reiterated its commitment to media freedom and freedom of expression in this country.

“Like we have said over time, there is no intention whatsoever for the administration of President Bola Tinubu to gag the press.

“More than ever before, government is committed to ensuring that the media will continue to operate in an environment that is very friendly and supportive of their work as a strong pillar for the continuous enthronement of democracy in our land.

“But like we have said over and over, we call on the Nigerian media to please show restraint in the kind of reporting that they also provide Nigeria.

“So that fake news, misinformation, or disinformation will have no place in our society,” said Idris.

Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, explained further that President Tinubu, in line with the desire to enhance more fiscal discipline and further demonstrate to Nigerians his commitment to serving them better, raised the issue of the reconciliation between the Appropriation Act, Public Procurement law and the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

“The FEC has set up a committee under the chairmanship of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to review the Public Procurement Act.

“The President directed that all ministries, department and agencies, should review their intended procurement as provided for in the appropriation.

“Where there are gaps between appropriated sums and sums required to execute projects, that can be brought to the attention of both the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and Federal Ministry of Finance.

“Such that the memo that the cabinet secretariat will provide to the FEC, will have clarity of where funding is expected to come from and recommendation so as to guide effectively the Federal Executive Council decision,” said Bagudu.

Mr Lateef Fagbemi, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, said the disturbing report by Daily Trust, was being handled by the Federal Government because, “we are conscious of press freedom and if you notice, this administration has not and will not tamper with press freedom.

“And it will not, particularly because if you know the President, he has been an ardent supporter and believer in press freedom, in fact that is what got him up to this point.

“He is conscious of that, not only press freedom, but fundamental human rights as enshrined in the constitution,” said Fagbemi.

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