The committee says it is a “cherished established” tradition not to scrutinise budgetary allocations to intelligence agencies.
The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence on Wednesday said it will not scrutinise allocations to all the intelligence agencies in the 2022 budget.
The Chairman of the Committee, Sha’ban Sharada (APC, Kano), at the budget defence session, noted that the committee members are not allowed to look at the details of the budgets.
This directive was made in presence of officials of the Office of the National Security Adviser, National Intelligence Agency and the Department of State Services, who appeared before the committee to defend their budgets.
Mr Sharada said the committee also did not review the budget of the agencies in 2019 and 2020.
Mr Sharada, a former aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, was elected into the House in 2019 and was appointed the chairman of the strategic committee despite being a first timer and without prior experience in the security sector or related field.
“Hon colleagues, it may be recalled that in both 2019 and 2020 budget defence, the committee did not examine the details of the presentations in recognition of the sensitive nature of operational expenditure of the agencies as major stakeholders in the national security system,” he said.
He said members of the committee should “rely on this cherished established precedence to release our esteemed guests after they make their presentations.”
After his speech, he called for a closed-door session, an action that triggered loud murmuring from journalists present at the hearing.
Despite history of corruption in the intelligence sector, Mr Sharada is increasing the opacity in the sector.
Former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, is facing prosecution over alleged embezzlement of $2.1 billion meant for procurement of arms.
Similarly, Ayodele Oke, the former boss of NIA, alongside his wife, are facing prosecution in connection with the $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 cash recovered by the EFCC from an apartment at Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, in April 2017.
They are facing a four-count charge bordering on money laundering offence to the tune of N13 billion.
Source: Premium Times