BY BEN AGANDE & EMMA OVUAKPORIE
ABUJA—The planned resuscitation of the national identity card suffered another set back ,Thursday, as the House of Representatives asked the Federal Government to discontinue its execution, saying the N30 billion earmarked for it was not captured in the budget.
Similarly, the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, and Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission have been summoned to appear before the House to brief it on the identity card project.
The decision of the House followed the adoption of a motion by Bimbo Daramola (ACN, Ekiti State), titled “Urgent need to investigate the Federal Government’s N30 billion national identity card scheme”.
According to Daramola, “the new attempt by the Federal Government to suddenly pump another N30 billion into this seemingly white elephant project will further hurt the financial position of our country”
He noted that the legislature “should be deeply concerned that the N30 billion approved by the Federal Executive Council to be spent on the project has not gone through appropriation of the House nor was the parliament consulted”.
Although the motion enjoyed bipartisan support, the speaker had to intervene at a point when it appeared that those opposed to its adoption were going to influence members to reject it.
Sekonte Davis (PDP, Rivers State) had advised his colleagues not to take actions that could lead to the termination of the identity card project, especially at a time efforts were being made to stop the rising insecurity in the country.
Opposing the motion, Raphael Igbokwe,(PDP Imo) challenged chairman of the House Committee on Interior, Umar Bature, to produce evidence to the effect that the N30 billion scheme lacked appropriation.
Igbokwe urged his colleagues to be circumspect in dealing with issues wholly within the purview of the executive.
He said: “I am not satisfied with the aspect of the motion that sought the stoppage of the Identity Card Scheme. This negates the principle of separation of powers because no arm of government can stop the other from performing its constitutional functions.”