The Senate Committee on Information and National Orientation, on Tuesday , queried the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed , over how the ministry expended N 19 m on international travel during the COVID – 19 lockdown period .
Mohammed appeared before the Senate Committee on Tuesday to defend the 2021 budget estimates of his ministry .
Trouble started when the Senator representing Imo East , Ezennwa Onyewuchi , asked Mohammed how N19 m out of the N 43 m meant for international travels in 2020 was utilised during the period of lockdown .
Onyewuchi said , “ On international travels and transport you had N43 m and you expended N19 m .
“ So I am wondering this period of lockdown where nobody was able to go to any country during the 2020 appropriation, how were you able to embark on international travels and you expended N19 m . ”
Mohammed , in his response , said the international travels were undertaken before the COVID – 19 lockdown .
He said , “ You will notice that N43 m was budgeted but less than 40 per cent was spent precisely because of the COVID – 19 and before then .
“ Remember that we had travelled to attend several international summits starting UNWTO conference , UNESCO in Spain and in the UK . We also did advocacy in the UK at the same time. These were all before the lockdown .