By Aaron Ossai and Disun Amosun
National Population Commission, NPC has been queried over the sum of N1.9 billion it spent on a presidential summit in the villa and conferences organized across the country.
The House of Representatives Committee on NPC at a budget defence session of the Commission also demanded explanations on the N5 billion spent by the NPC on mock census in parts of the country.
The Director of Census at the Commission, Mrs Arinola Olanipekun said the summit was organized to sensitize Nigerians about the exercise and test-run parameters for the 2023 census.
She added that the essence was to test the exercise instrument and also the nature of data the Commission wants to generate as well as to seek the opinion of Nigerians.
The Director Finance and Accounts, Mr Benjamin Fagbemi explained that N129 million was spent on the summit at the villa, while the ones held in the 36 states and the FCT gulped N1.2 billion.
Mr Fagbemi added that an additional 365 million naira was also expended on stakeholders conferences.
A member of the Committee from Anambra State, Mr Ifeanyi Momah expressed concern about the
5 billion naira spent on the mock census saying most of the staff deployed to his state for the exercise had to reach out to politicians for financial support, complaining that they were not paid their allowances.
The Committee called on the commission to throw more light on what they used such a colossal amount of money on in the face of competing needs for funds to make the exercise a success.
Another member from Ondo state Mr Gboluga Ikengboju, moved a motion for the NCP to go back and take a critical look at the discrepancies in the document presented to the committee with a view of making a representation of their 2023 budget.
“We cannot be speculating over tax payers money. I hereby move that the NPC should go back and tidy up these documents’,” he said.
Rulling on the motion, Committee chairman, Hon. Muhammad Lawal, expressed dissatisfaction with the presentation and directed the leadership of the NPC to comeback on Wednesday next week with proper documentation.