PRESS RELEASE: OFFICE OF THE CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS ,HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, NATIONAL ASSEMBLY COMPLEX,ABUJA.

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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PAYS OVERSIGHT VISIT ON THE DIRECTORATE FOR TECHNICAL AID CORPS AS PARTIES AGREE TO SUSTAIN THE GAINS AND LEGACIES OF THE CORPS SINCE ESTABLISHMENT.

Honourable Members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives today visited the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps in Abuja.

The visit,which is the very first one to the Corps by members of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the 9th House of Representatives, was intended to offer Members of the Committee the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the Management and programmes of the Corps ,on one hand,and to carry out Oversight Functions on the Directorate on the other hand.

During the visit,the lawmakers took time to engage the Management team of the Agency in all areas relating to the core mandate of the Directorate and on how it has,hitherto, used its various programmes to further the realisation of the objectives of the Directorate. Issues relating to funding,relevance and the continuous existence of the Directorate in the face of dwindling resources and overlapping of functions with some sister Agencies, including the need for adherence to the Federal Character principles in its recruitment of workers and volunteers, were all brought to the fore.

Speaking during the visit,Chairman,House Committee on Foreign Affairs and lawmaker representing Gombi/ Hong Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives,Rt.Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub,said it was in line with their statutory duties as lawmakers to carry out Oversight Functions on Government and public institutions in order to ensure that those who superintend over such offices act in accordance with the intentions for setting up the offices they occupy.

In the words of the lawmaker:
” We are here this morning to consummate the function of carrying out oversight and supervision on the entire machinery of Government and those who drive it; a power bestowed on us by the Constitution of our nation and its framers, thereof, who saw the power of oversight as a means of ensuring that things are properly done so that the people, who we truly represent, receive the greatest utility from whatever is set up to meet their needs.

“Oftentimes misunderstood as a witch- hunt on other Arms of Government, the power of oversight, as I earlier submitted, is merely a means to ensure that vision set is religiously pursued and that personal or group interests do not conflict with those of Government and, more importantly and simply put, to ensure that services are driven to the required end to meet the greatest yearnings of the repositories of power, the people’,Hon. Buba explained.

While observing that since its establishment in 1987, as a platform to deepen co- operation and friendship with some countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Region, the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps,Hon. Buba said, had made very remarkable achievements in the past by offering knowledge, expertise and skills in many fields of life to receiving countries,who had benefited immensely from the Scheme ,which some now wonder whether it still existed. He charged the visiting lawmakers to make gainful contributions that would ensure the return of the Directorate to what he called” its former winning ways “. This,he said,was in order to strengthen the South- South co- operation of the past era.

Also,speaking ,Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the Corps, Pius Osunyikunmi,Ph.D,expressed gratitude to the lawmakers for their passion to re- energise and re- engineer the vision of the Directorate, which he observed has scored a whole lot of unsong goals for the country in the past. He used the opportunity of the visit to inform members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs of the positive reforms, which he initiated since assuming office in the Directorate ,but which challenges,arising from paucity of funds, would not allow to bear the required fruits.

He lamented the difficulty posed by the inability of the Corps ti meet its statutory functions and various commitments,including new ones that have been brought about by the current diplomacy shuttle of Mr President, who,he said,has graciously continued to widen the scope of the activities of the Directorate through commitments made at places of visit,especially, across the African continent ,with regards to the noble objectives and vision of the DTAC. Dr Osunyikunmi further implored the Committee to assist the Directorate to restore the slash on their 2020 budget,which had been approved ,but has not truly reflected a complete need to be truly hopeful at the moment.

At the end of the engagements between the parties,participants at the session were all agreed that the vision and ideals of the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps were quite noble ones,which as an initiative of the past , even possesses better relevance today; especially, in the light of the kind of support Nigeria requires to maintain its visibility in the affairs of the world. They also agreed to use all available legitimate means to ensure that the Corps receive the maximum support to carry out its programmes and objectives and to meet its commitments to its various publics.

Nkem Anyata- Lafia
SA( Media & Public Affairs) to the Chairman,House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
March 18,2020.

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