Oversight Function:  Yusuf Takes House Committee Members On A Familarisation Visit To Technical Aid Corps Directorate

By Our Reporter

 The Constitutional provision for the  National Assembly Committee members to carry out oversight functions in the discharge of their Legislative  duties appear to have informed why  Yusuf  Buba Yakub, Chairman of  the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs  and his members v isited the Technical Aid Corps Directorate in Abuja, the Federal capital Territory, FCT, on Wednesday, March 18, 2020,  to see things themselves.

It was the first visit by the Committee  members to the Directorate since its inauguration last year. A member of the Committee who spoke to The Value News disclosed that the visit had provided members  an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Management and programmes of the Foreign  Technical  Corps, as part of their Oversight Functions.

During the visit, the  Committee members were said  to have taken   time out  to engage the Management team in all areas relating to the core mandate of the Directorate and to know how it had used  the Financial allocations from the Federation Account to implement its various programmes as contained in the Law setting it up.

 Indeed, issues relating to funding ,relevance and the continuous existence of the Directorate in the face of dwindling resources and overlapping of functions with some other agencies of the ministry, including the need for adherence to the  Federal Character principles in its recruitment of  Staff  and volunteers, were  said to have been discussed at the closed door meeting with the Management Team at the Boardroom.

 In justifying the visit to the Foreign  Technical Aid Corps directorate, Yakub, the Committee Chairman said  it was  in line with their statutory duties as lawmakers to carry out their oversight Functions on gvernment and public institutions in order to ensure that those who superintend over such offices act in accordance with  the Law  setting up the office which they occupy.

” We are here  to consummate the function of carrying out our  oversight function  and supervision on the agency  and those who drive it; a power bestowed on us by the 1999 Constitution,  as amended.

According to him the framers of the Constitution may have seen that the powers of  oversight functions  to put government  agencies and Parastatals  officials to be  on their toes at all points in time as  a means of ensuring that things were properly done.

 He noted  that  the power of the oversight Function  was to ensure that the vision  that informed  the setting up of the agency was religiously pursued and that personal or group interests do not conflict with those of the government. He explained that the Legislative responsibility was to ensure that the services of the agency are driven to the logical conclusion  to meet the yearnings of the repositories of power: the people.

The Committee  members  may have observed in the Course of their interaction with the  Management Team  that since the agency establishment in 1987, as a platform to deepen co- operation and friendship with some countries in the  African Continent, Caribbean and the Pacific Region, the Directorate, it had made very remarkable achievements.

This is evident  in offering knowledge, expertise and skills in many areas of endeavour  to  countries, which  had benefited  from the Scheme over the years. With the contributions of the agency to the benefiting countries in the Africa, Caribean and the Pacific, in the past, the House Committee Chairman of Foreign Affairs Technical Aid Corps  was optimistic  that it would facilitate  the return of the Directorate to its old winning ways, stressing that it would also  strengthen the South- South co- operation of the past era.

 Pius Osunyikunmi, Director General, of the agency, who was very appreciative to receive the Lawmakers  in his office expressed gratitude to them  for their passion to re- energise and re- engineer the vision of the Directorate, which he observed had scored a whole lot of unsung  goals for the country in the past.

House Committee Members On Foreign Affairs Technical Aid Corps

 Osunyikunmi, was said to have  used the opportunity of the visit  of the Committee members to acquaint  them on the reforms, which he had initiated since assumption of office in the Directorate ,but which are facing major  challenges, arising from paucity of funds, as it could  not  yield the desired results

He lamented the difficulty posed by the inability of the Directorate  to meet its statutory functions and other  various  commitments, including the  new responsibilities that had been brought about by the current Diplomacy shuttle of president Muhammadu Buhari.

 He revealed that the Katsina state born Nigerian President had continued to widen the scope of the activities of the Directorate through commitments made at the places of visit, across the African continent .

According to him, the Commitments to these countries that were said to have been visited by the President  were in respect of the  objectives and vision of the DTAC.

 Appealing to the Committee members  to assist the Directorate to restore the money  slashed on its 2020 budget, which had already been approved, by the Lawmakers, stressing that that the budgetary provision of the agency as it currently stands  did truly reflected a complete need of the Technical Aid Corps  Directorate  at the moment.

At the close of their  discussion, the parties were said to have  agreed that the vision and ideals of the Directorate of the Technical Aid Corps were quite noble ones, which  even as an initiative of the past , possesses  better relevance today  especially, in the light of the kind of support  the country requires to maintain  in the affairs of the world to  sustain  its visibility.

 They were  said  to have also  agreed to use all available legitimate means to ensure that the Corps receive the maximum financial support to carry out its  programmes and objectives  as well as  meet its commitments to the international Community.

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