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HURIWA calls for protests over N27bn approved for the renovation of NASS complex

By Segun Olaniyi, Abuja
03 June 2020   |   6:10 pm
The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and the National Assembly's leadership headed by Ahmad Lawan...

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration and the National Assembly’s leadership headed by Ahmad Lawan for going ahead to approve the whopping sum of N27 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly’s Complex, an amount that is ten times higher than what was utilized to build the edifice.

The Rights group said the approval of N27 billion for the renovation of the National Assembly’s complex is criminal, misplaced, dubious, and is a bribe for the Senate and the House of Representatives to continue to remain docile and subservient to the whims and caprices of the lawless executive arm of government.

HURIWA has also asked organized civil society community in the country to brace up and defend the constitutional democracy from the stranglehold of oppressors and demagogues that have hijacked all tiers of government, adding that the present leadership of the National Assembly and the handpicked hierarchy of the nation’s judiciary to pose grave threats to the continued existence of constitutional democracy unless the entire Nigerian masses stand up and demand immediate overhauls and restoration of the constitutionally guaranteed principles of checks and balances and the separation of powers.

In a statement signed by the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA lamented that the huge monetary approval granted by the executive arm of government and the crude fact that the Chief Justice of Nigeria Muhammed Tanko was railroaded into office through a kangaroo tribunal and through an ex parte injunction granted by the ethically challenged quasi-judicial contraption called Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) controlled and orchestrated by the executive arm of government shows that Nigeria has effectively entered a totalitarian dictatorship of one man in the person of the President.

“There is no further need to look for evidence of collusion between the leadership of the National Assembly and the Executive arm of government to collapse the constitutionally guaranteed separation of powers going by the unfortunate fact that both the legislative and judicial arms of government are now headed by ‘O-Yes’ men of Mr. President and the sad reality is that unless the slumbering civil society wakes up and demand the restoration of constitutional democracy we can as well sing ‘NUNCT DIMITIS SERVUM TUUM” meaning it is finished all man to his tents. The Rights group said the organized labour has since been bought over and pocketed by the Executive.

“This N27 billion is nothing short of bribery to shut the mouths of the Legislative arm of government and already Nigerians have seen the practical evidence that the National Assembly has been bought over and pocketed by the Executive when the Senate President Ahmad Lawan told us that the Senate will approve all requests coming from President Muhammadu Buhari because he believes that the President means well for Nigeria and shortly after saying that the Senate has turned into a full-blown ”Banana republic ” just as every and all requests including several toxic requests sent to the National Assembly to collect loans ranging from $22.7 billion and a fresh $5 billion loan request not including the $3.6billion COVID-19 loan has been approved and collected from the World Bank and the National Assembly even approved that President Muhammadu Buhari should collect a loan from China whose terms of the contract was written in the Chinese language which no single legislator understands. So Democracy is on the verge of collapse unless the entire Masses stand up now and demand immediate restoration of democracy.”

It further added: “HURIWA condemns the Federal Government’s approval of a reviewed appropriation of the budget for the renovation of the National Assembly complex from N37 billion to N27.7bn. Also regrettably, in the proposed revised budget, while the National Assembly complex renovation budget was reduced to N27.7bn (a reduction of 25.1 percent), the Basic Health Care Provision Fund, which is meant to cater for all the primary healthcare centres across the 774 local government areas in the country, was significantly reduced by N44.4bn to N25.5bn, a decrease of more than 42.5 percent.

“This is a crime against humanity given that the National health infrastructures of Nigeria have all collapsed and the Federal Government had to go cap in hand to multilateral lending institutions to borrow hugely in the guise of combating COVID-19 pandemic which in the real sense was never used or intended to be used to improve the dilapidated buildings of our health facilities all over Nigeria and the scarcity of modern medical equipment and the motivation of the medical staff to man these health facilities.

“We must protest against this criminality of bribing the National Assembly with N27 billion and cutting down the budget for healthcare and for education.”