Agencies under the Ministry of Justice have lamented the poor release of funds for capital projects in 2017, saying releases were as low as 10 per cent.
The heads of the agencies made the complaint when members of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters visited the ministry on oversight function.
Julie Okah-Donli, Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), said of the over N1 billion allocated to the agency for capital expenditure, only N135 million was released.
Okah-Donli said the figure represented 10 per cent of the appropriated amount to the agency.
She told the committee that this was a major challenge to the agency in carrying out its statutory functions.
Deji Adekunle (SAN), the Director-General, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS), also told the committee that of the over N95 million appropriated to it, only N9 million had been released.
A member of the committee, Joshua Lidani, noted that NAPTIP needed much financial support to enable it to combat the menace of human trafficking.
Lidani implored the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to ensure that the agency was adequately provided for in the 2018 budget.
Earlier, Malami told the committee that of the N689.1 million appropriated to the ministry for capital expenditure in 2017, only N500 million had been released.
The attorney-general said N311.7 from the released amount had been committed to various projects.
He was optimistic that the ministry would be allocated more funds in the 2018 appropriation to enable it execute its responsibilities.
“In 2017, our major challenge was inadequate appropriation to comprehensively address the major responsibilities of the ministry.
“For instance, provisions for such critical expenditure as legal services, training, judgment debts and even capital items fell far below our actual requirements.
“This made the ministry unable to fully meet up with its obligations, the Minister said’’.