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President meets N’Assembly leadership over supplementary budget

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President Muhammadu Buhari (left); Senate President Ahmed Lawan and Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila at the State House in Abuja…yesterday. PHOTO: PHILIP OJISUA 

President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, met with President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawal and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, over a supplementary budget that would cover the cost of new equipment to tackle insecurity and COVID-19 vaccinations.

Specifically, no provision was made in the 2021 Finance Bill adopted last December.

Addressing newsmen on the gathering Lawan said: “You know, it is one government where the executive and legislature arms are working together. We have come to meet with Mr. President over issues of serious national concern. And one of them is the issue of a supplementary budget. Both the executive and legislative arms believe that we should have a supplementary budget to provide for funding of the COVID-19 vaccination in Nigeria, as well as the security, providing more resources and platforms to our security agencies.

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“And in Nigeria today, I’m sure there are no graver issues than COVID-19 and the security situation in the country. I want to use this opportunity to say that the security situation is gradually improving. I am sure that when we give more resources to our security agencies, we willwitness faster recovery.”

“As for the COVID, I believe that our country, Nigeria should have some resources for our scientists to collaborate with other scientists from across the globe for a vaccine of our own .”

He was, however, not definite when asked if the National Assembly would consider a request from a vaccine candidate demanding $100 million for trial.

On the kind of intervention Nigerians should expect from federal legislature regarding pervasive insecurity, Lawan stated: “Of course, approvals of funds for the purchase of platforms, weapons and equipment are essential and we have already approved so much. That’s why we’re expecting our Tucsons to be here soon. We’re expecting some APCs from Jordan.

“We’re expecting some APCs from China. And we believe that we’ve not had enough. We still need to approve more resources for the purchase of weapons for our armed forces.”

Speaking on the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Gbajabiamila assured that the commitment made to Nigerians would be kept but feared that the Easter and Ramadan breaks might affect the date.

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