The President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator David Mark has lamented the poor funding of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), stressing that the Agency saddled with the enormous task of social re-orientation deserves more allocation in the annual national budget.
Senator Mark was speaking at the commissioning of twenty-two brand new operational pick-up vans procured by the Agency as part of activities to mark the one year in office of the NOA Director General, Mr. Mike Omeri. He noted with great delight the “judicious and prudent” management of resources by the Mike Omeri led Agency and wondered how it manages to survive and execute its mandate with the meager allocation it gets. He commended the various programmes, projects and activities carried out by the Agency in the last one year, calling for sustenance and improvement on the efficiency so far displayed by the Agency.
The Senate President also urged the National Broadcasting Commission to remove all bureaucratic bottlenecks preventing the issuance of operating license for NOA to run its own community radio as the operation of such radio by the Agency in all 774 Local Governments of the Federation was critical to the national value re-orientation efforts.
“NOA deserves more allocation. The National Assembly will take another look at budget of the NOA and will do whatever it takes to ensure they get more allocation. But I call on the Executive to take the first shot. If there is any submission from the Executive to that effect, we will not hesitate to give it the consideration it deserves”, said the Senate President.
Earlier, the Chairman, House Committee on Information and National Orientation, Honourable Buba Jubrin towed the same line in his goodwill message at the event when he said “the budget allocation of the National Orientation Agency is too poor. We cannot continue to run our agencies like this. We must look at important agencies with meager resources and do something about it. We need to allocate more resources to NOA”.
In his Address of Welcome, the NOA Director General, Mr. Mike Omeri said the new vehicles were a direct response to the challenges of inadequate operational vehicles for the Agency’s offices at the State level. He said though the vehicles were not enough, it was obvious that government was poised to address those challenges. He also hinted that the NOA had made submissions for amendment to the Act establishing the Agency. These amendments, he said, will position the Agency to better meet up with the challenges of its immediate and requested the support of the Senate President to enable successful amendment of the Act.
The event was graced by several ministers including the Minister of Water Resources, Sarah Ochekpe; Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah; Minister of Interior, Abbah Moro and; Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom.