By Eric James Ochigbo
Abuja, March 18, 2020 (NAN)
The House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs has promised to reposition the Directorate of Technical Aid Corps (DTAC) to boost Nigeria’s relations in the International community.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Yussuf Buba (APC-Adamawa) made the pledge when the committee went to exercise its oversight function on the parastatal in Abuja.
NAN reports that the Directorate is saddled with overall administration of a scheme which involves the recruitment and orientation of technical expert volunteers to offer manpower assistance to other countries.
The scheme is to give positive boost to the conduct of Nigeria’s foreign policy especially as it relates to efforts at enhancing both sub-regional and regional cooperation.
Buba said that the committee was out to ensure that the aim for which the directorate was established was achieved for the good of all Nigerians.
“Honourable colleagues and distinguished members of this Committee, today,therefore, we are here to pose the right questions, seek the right answers and elicit all the commitment necessary for the rejuvenation of the DTAC.
“Our task here is to,through our impassionate interventions, return the Corps back to its former winning ways where it held the beacon of light and pointed the ways to go to strengthen our South- South co-operation in those years.
“I, therefore, invite you all to engage our host truthfully in all areas the esteemed members think can truly further the realisation of the core mandate of the Corps,” he said.
Buba said that one of the statutory duties of a lawmaker is to question the activities of those in Government and public institutions in order to ensure that they comply with the very reason for their establishment.
The chairman said that it is a power bestowed on legislators by the Constitution saying that that oversight which is ensuring that things are properly done is oftentimes misunderstood as a witch hunt on other Arms of Government.
Buba said that DTAC was established in 1987 to provide a platform to further co-operation and friendship with some countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific Region.
According to him, the DTAC has stood through the years and has midwifed bilateral relations that truly point out our country as a global giant.
“Instead of doling out money to other nations at a time we knew we had gone ahead of them in some areas of life, our people wisely chose to offer them knowledge, expertise and skills in some fields of life that would offer maximum benefits in the end.
“Despite the noble intentions of those who had the vision and,indeed, put up the framework for the establishment and operations of the DTAC, there is no doubt today that the scheme has known better days.
“For instance, the entire scheme was built to go through periodical assessments and reviews; what has happened to these reviews?
“What about the management of funds including donations from individuals and institutions? What about employment policy especially in relation to Federal Character and other ideals that speak to our diverse nature as a country.
“The committee will engage DTAC on the many grey areas to fashion new ways forward,” he said.
The Director-General of DTAC, Dr Pius Osunyikunmi, told the parliamentarians that the directorate lacked funds to continue the noble work it began in 1987.
He expressed dismay at the slashing of the overhead cost in the 2020 budget, in spite of President Muhammadu Buhari’ diplomatic shuttle across Africa and other parts of the world.
Osunyikunmi said it had m increased the scope of DTAC duties, requesting the committee to do it’s best to keep the Corps alive and thriving.
The DG said that the noble mandate of DTAC and what it had achieved in the past would be too precious to jettison in haste.(NAN)