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Enough Is Enough! Senate Gives Buhari Final Warning To Sign 2016 Budget
Views: 423  |  Comments: 0 |  Posted: 12:08 Tue, 12 Apr 2016
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Posted on: 12:08 Tue, 12 Apr 2016



The Nigerian Senate has on Monday
given the presidency what it described
as a final warning, following its
dealings with the legislative branch of
government on matters relating to the
2016 budget, adding that it would no
longer tolerate the presidency blaming
the legislature for its woes.


This is coming against the backdrop
of a simmering feud between
President Muhammadu Buhari and
National Assembly over the
Appropriation Bill, as the Senate
accused the Presidency of “gross
incompetence”, “arrogance” and
“lack of coordination.”

It was gathered that the rationale
behind the rift was the removal of
the Calabar – Lagos rail project
from the final budget.

Officials of the presidency,
yesterday, affirmed that the rail
project was in the budget but
removed by the committees of
Appropriation in the Senate and
the House of Representatives.

The allegation was, however,
stoutly rebuffed by the members of
the Senate and the House of
Representatives.

Reacting to the allegation, the
Chairman Senate Committee on
Land Transport, Gbenga Ashafa, in
a statement, yesterday, confirmed
that the Lagos-Calabar rail line
project was not included in the
original document presented to the
National Assembly by the
Executive.



Also, a statement issued by Senate’s
spokesman and chairman of the
Senate Committee on Media and
Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi
Abdullahi read in part:

“While the executive is mandated
to prepare and lay before the
National Assembly a proposed
budget detailing projects to be
executed, it should be made clear
that the responsibility and power
of appropriation lie with the
National Assembly.

If the presidency expects us to
return the budget proposal to them
without any adjustments, then some
people must be living in a different
era and probably have not come to
terms with democracy.

“We make bold to say, however,
that the said Lagos-Calabar rail
project was not included in the
budget proposal presented to the
National Assembly by President
Muhammadu Buhari, and we
challenge anyone who has any
evidence to the contrary to
present such to Nigerians.

“Since the beginning of the 2016
budget process, it is clear that the
National Assembly has suffered
all manners of falsehood,
deliberate distortion of facts, and
outright blackmail, deliberately
aimed at poisoning the minds of
the people against the institution
of the National Assembly.

We have endured this with
equanimity in the overall interest
of Nigerians. Even when the
original submission was
surreptitiously swapped and we
ended up having two versions of
the budget, which was almost
incomprehensible and heavily
padded in a manner that betrays
lack of coordination and gross
incompetence, we refused to play
to the gallery and instead helped
the Executive to manage the hugely
embarrassing situation it has
brought upon itself; but enough is
enough.

“This latest antics of this
particular minister of
transportation, Rotimi Amaechi,
is reckless, uncalled for and
dangerously divisive. Apart from
setting the people of the southern
part of the country against their
northern compatriots, it
potentially sets the people against
their lawmakers from the
concerned constituencies and sets
the lawmakers against
themselves. This manner of
reprehensible mischief has no
place in a democracy. We hereby
demand from Mr. Amaechi a
publicly tendered apology if he is
not able to show evidence that the
Lagos-Calabar rail project was
included in the budget.
Otherwise, he should resign
forthwith.

“Finally, by the provision of
Section 81 (4) (a) and (b) of the
constitution, the President is
allowed to sign the budget and
kick-start the implementation of
the other areas that constitute
over 90 per cent of the budget
where there is agreement
between both arms, even as we
engage ourselves to resolve the
contentious areas, if there were
any. We, therefore, maintain that
even these contrived
discrepancies are not sufficient
excuse not to sign the budget into
law.

“We, therefore, urge President
Buhari to sign the 2016 budget
without any further delay. For
every additional day that the
president withholds his assent
from the bill, the hardship in the
land, which is already becoming
intolerable for the masses of our
people gets even more
complicated. Certainly, as
primary representatives of the
people, we shall not vacate our
responsibility and watch the
people continue to suffer unduly.”
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