The Senate Committee on Defence yesterday stepped down the consideration of the defence ministry’s 2023 budget proposal over the refusal of the minister, Bashir Magashi, to honour invitations it extended to him.
The committee took the decision after Senator Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi), drew the attention of his colleagues to an earlier resolution of the Senate inviting the minister to appear before its ad-hoc committee over the Nigerian Naval Ship (NNS Aradu) which had been grounded for several years.
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Abdullahi said a motion was raised on the floor of the Senate in February on the need to resuscitate the NNS Aradu, Nigeria’s flagship and most powerful in the fleet of the Nigerian Navy.
He recalled that the Senate had subsequently set up an adhoc committee chaired by him to interface with Magashi to find ways to resuscitate the grounded NNS Aradu.
He said the minister had refused to honour all the three invitations forwarded to him by rhe ad-hoc committee in the last three months.
Abdullahi said the ship was designed to protect Nigeria’s territorial integrity.
He said while other countries had maintained their flagship; that of Nigeria remained grounded.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Defence, Aliyu Wamakka, said the committee would not consider the budget proposal until Magashi cleared himself with the ad-hoc committee.