The Ekiti State Government has frowned at the Senate’s move to probe how it spent the bailout disbursed by the Federal Government. The state government said the Senate has no power to investigate the expenditure of the bailout.
The Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, Mr Owoseni Ajayi pointed this in a letter sent to the Chairman, Senate Committee on State and Local Government Administration, Senator Gumel Abdullahi.
In the letter, Ajayi expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for granting the bailout to Ekiti and other states, but insists that the Senate would be acting outside its constitutional powers by probing the state over the bailout.
“It is incontrovertible that the duty of oversight of government’s financial activities by the legislative arm in Nigeria is a constitutional matter and the diligent performance of this duty in a time like this, when our nation is in economic recession, cannot be over emphasised.
“We therefore appreciate the intentions and aspirations of the National Assembly in the above regard, which, we have no doubt, are aimed at ensuring fiscal discipline, financial integrity, accountability and probity of government and its relevant agencies at all levels.
“However, we respectfully wish to observe that we are constrained, as a state government bound by the principles of federalism and the rule of law, to accede to your proposal to exercise oversight powers over the disbursement of the bailout granted to Ekiti State by the Federal Government because it is legally and constitutionally outside the powers of the Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“In this regard, we wish to draw your attention to the clear provisions of Sections 121, 122, 123, 124, 125 and 125 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended), which vests the powers of oversight functions in respect of states’ finances exclusively in the respective state Houses of Assembly.”
The Senate had written to some state Governors, including Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State, informing them that it would visit their states to investigate the bailout funds.