Reps say delay in passage of 2016 budget politically-motivated
THE leadership of the National Assembly has waded into the crisis created by alleged indiscriminate allocation of funds for capital projects in the 2016 budget proposal among geo-political zones in the country.
Aggrieved National Assembly members whose zones were not accorded much priority in the allocation of funds for capital projects, it was learnt, had staged a quiet protest to the leadership of the Assembly asking that the manner in which funds were earmarked for capital projects in the 2016 budget proposal be reviewed in the best interest of fairness, equality and justice.
The lawmakers, it was further learnt, had drawn the attention of the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives to the fact that capital projects in some zones appeared to have been grossly abandoned while old and new projects were being accorded priority in the budget document.
But Saraki, at a meeting of the body of principal officers of the National Assembly, assured that part of the country would not be discriminated against in the distribution of projects as well as their funding.
Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, who had observed that the budget proposal was characterised by discrepancies and cases of lopsidedness prompting complaints from many quarters, said the National Assembly would use its power of appropriation to remedy the situation.
In another development, fifteen members of the House of Representatives at the weekend rose from an emergency meeting alleging that the delay in the passage of the 2016 budget was politically-motivated.
The lawmakers, in a statement, particularly aligned themselves with the position of Senator Kabiru Marafa that there was politics in the whole story about the need to delay the passage of the budget based on the pretext that the budget as proposed by the Executive arm was padded.
The lawmakers wondered why some of their colleagues recently came out in the open to reprimand Marafa for stating the obvious truth on the controversy surrounding the delay in the passage of the 2016 budget.
According to them: “Since we are all entitled to our opinion, we agree with Senator Marafa that the budget distortions became a political tool in the hands of some legislators and their agenda was to use it for political negotiation.
“It must be made clear to the legislators who are mostly new members that the two Houses of the National Assembly are independent and separate and by getting involved in the internal crisis of the Senate shows them to be busybodies and interlopers who know nothing about the running of a bicameral legislature.
“For legislators who swore to uphold the Constitution, it is surprising that they fail to recognise the inalienable fundamental right of Senator Marafa to free speech in our constitutional democracy and as guaranteed under Chapter 4 of the Nigerian Constitution.
“It is even more shocking that they were so quick to do the bidding of whoever their paymaster is that they moved even faster than the Senate Ethics Committee set up to investigate the matter.”
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