Breaking: 2018 Budget: NASS Suspends NCMM, CBAAC, National Gallery Bosses From Defence

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2018 Budget NASS Committee
Cross section of the Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama Omoregie-led 2018 Budget Committee for the Ministry of Information and Culture.
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*Charges Lai Muhammed To Make Cake For Tourism Devt, Funding At FEC Meeting

THE lower chamber of the National Assembly on Thursday suspended three parastatals under the Ministry of Information and Culture, from defending their 2018 budget over pending allegations of misappropriation of funds.

A member of the committee, Hon. Austin Chukwukere, during the budget defence at the NASS Complex, raised the motion to defer the budget defence of National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM); Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC) and National Gallery of Art on the heels of an ongoing probe of allegations of misappropriation of funds in the parastatals.

Chairman of the 2018 Budget Defence for the Ministry of Information and Culture, Hon. Ogbeide-Ihama Omoregie, who disclosed his awareness of the ongoing probe, noted that he was yet to get any report from the sub committee heading the probe.

Lai Mohammed with Deaconess Grace Isu Gekpe
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Isu Gekpe in tet-a-tet with the Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Members of the committee agreed to the suspension of the three parastatals thereby sending out  the Acting Director-General of NCMM, Mr Emeka Onuegbu; Director-General of CBAAC, Dr Ferdinand Ikechukwu and Director-General of the National Gallery of Art, Abdullah Mike.

However, Hon. Omoregie charged the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, to emphasise the need for practical promotion and proper funding of the Nigerian Tourism industry, to President Muhammadu Buhari and other members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC). You are doing your best, but you must take the message of tourism promotion and funding to the FEC.

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He said: “We are tired of the President not working on how to boost the Tourism industry with good fund and policy in Nigeria. The truth is that the sector is not well funded, and without good funding all the plans concerning the industry will just remain rethorics.

“Government must place more attention to tourism, because the industry has the potential to will propel unity in the country.

“Nigerians are being killed everyday, without any serious response from government. There are countries in the world that will go an extra mile to unravel the death of just a single soul.

“We can’t appropriate fund that won’t generate employment and grow the sector. Government policy must be seen to be friendly to the sector.

“Nigeria needs to be peaceful and and the people needs to be united, and a good tool to achieve this is tourism. Honourable Minister, you must rise up to this occasion.”

Meanwhile, National Troupe and National Theatre of Nigeria, was also sent out of the defence, for lack of adequate preparation.

Other parastatals under the Ministry of Information and Culture in attendance at the budget defence included: the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR).

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