The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked the National Assembly to be very circumspect and not to directly sabotage the war on terror by the unwarranted distraction of ‘investigating’ the procurement of arms in such a way as to show that they may be doing the bidding of terrorists.
The civil society organisation specifically counselled the leadership of the two chambers of National Assembly (NASS) to provide patriotic leadership to guide defence committees so their members are not recruited as undercover sympathizers of Boko Haram terrorists, who will continue to spread sensational media stories regarding the propriety or otherwise of the procurement process observed.
“We think that at a time of grave emergency and threats to the territorial integrity of Nigeria, what we expect from lawmakers is to support the hierarchy of the military with all that they need to effectively combat the threats of terrorism and after that then forensic investigations of expenses and procurements can happen in an atmosphere devoid of media sensationalism,” a statement issued by HURIWA and obtained by PlatinumPost on Tuesday in Abuja, said.
“We expect the legislators not to constitute unwelcomed nuisance and orchestrated distractions by organizing unnecessary public show and media drama of seeking to make a devil out of the heads of the armed forces of Nigeria and by so doing create disaffection and demotivate the combatants by feeding them with half baked and unsubstantiated innuendos that certain members of the Military hierarchy may have diverted funds meant for procurement of arms.
“Who are these lawmakers working for? Nigeria or Boko Haram terrorists? This is the most inappropriate time to do that and the methodology they adopted they are indirectly creating the impression that some of the members of the National Assembly may actually be doing the bidding of the masterminds of the terror campaigns against Nigeria.
“If we may ask, are the legislators unaware of the very characters and political functionaries within the Ministry of Defence that are directly in charge of all procurements and don’t they know the custodian of such procurement records? Why have they not invited the minister?
“Why not read up the relevant laws if the members are bereft of the relevant information on the extant laws relating to procurement and that the Minister of Defence is the right person to provide all the information they seek or are they procured by the terrorists to cause disaffection by spreading false information about some missing funds?” the statement queried.
HURIWA stated further: “For their information, these are facts presented by a legal scholar and these faultless procedures are easily accessed on the Internet for the elucidation of the Legislator so they carry out their assignment if need be, with the highest decorum and avoid hugging the media in order to create somethingout of nothing and thing effectively derail the war on terror.
“HURIWA is privileged to learn lucidly the following: What is the relevant legislation and in outline what does each piece of legislation cover? In Nigeria, the relevant legislation is the Public Procurement Act, 2007 (PPA). Sections 1 and 3 of the PPA established the National Council on Public Procurement (the Council) and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), respectively.
“The Council, as the first regulatory authority under the PPA, is responsible for: (1) considering, approving and amending the monetary and prior review thresholds for the application of the provisions of the PPA by procuring entities; (2) considering and approving policies on public procurement; and (3) approving changes in the procurement process to adapt to improvements in modern technology.
“The BPP, as the second regulatory authority, has the following responsibilities, amongst others: (1) to harmonise the existing Government policies and practices on public procurement and ensure probity, accountability and transparency in the procurement process; (2) to establish pricing standards and benchmarks; (3) to ensure the application of fair, competitive, transparent, value-for-money standards and practices for the procurement and disposal of public assets and services; and (4) to attain transparency, competitiveness, cost-effectiveness and professionalism in the public sector procurement system.
“The provisions of the PPA, as per section 15 thereof, cover all procurement of goods, works and services carried out by: (1) the Federal Government and all procurement entities; and (2) all entities outside the foregoing description which derive at least 35% of the funds appropriated or proposed to be appropriated, for any type of procurement described in the PPA, from the Federation share of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, as captured lucidly by ICLG.com”.