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Thursday, 14 July 2016

No plot to impeach President Buhari - Senators


Lawmakers of the ruling All Progressive Congress APC Wednesday denied a reported plot to impeach President Mohammadu Buhari.
This is coming as newspaper headlines on Wednesday were awash with the purported move by disgruntled elements in the Senate who were angry at the renewed onslaught against the leadership of the Senate such as in the trial of the Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal and an alleged forgery of the Senate standing rules and most recently comments attributed to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Babachir Lawal who was widely quoted in the media as saying that constituency projects in the 2016 budget might not be fully funded as the economy is no longer buoyant enough to accommodate the projects which are usually conceptualized by Senators for their various constituencies.

Appearing before the Senate joint Committees on Ethics, Finance, Appropriation and Budget, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Lawal who clarified his comments insisted that most of the constituency projects were frivolous and not part of the prioritized capital projects in the 2016 budget.
His appearance before the joint Committees followed a point of order raised by Senator Matthew Urhoghide (PDP Edo) on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday where he accused the SGF of disrespecting the upper legislative chamber through his "unguarded comments".
The Senate had then resolved to invite the SGF to appear before the aforementioned Senate Committees to explain why constituency projects which the lawmakers said was a mere 0.3 percent of the total 6.06 trillion Naira of the 2016 budget might not be implemented.
In his response at the committee room, the SGF who appeared calm in the face of the "verbal missiles" thrown at him by the lawmakers said falling crude oil revenue and unstable amount of oil export which at a point dropped to 800,000 barrels per day has thrown the Nigerian economy which is mostly reliant on crude oil into a state of recession.
He however denied insinuations by the lawmakers that President Mohammadu Buhari had planned to completely remove constituency projects from the budgeting system.
The lawmakers who took turns to address the SGF reminded him that the projects which were part of the 2016 Appropriation Act approved by the National Assembly and signed by the President is now a law and therefore cannot be tampered with.
While a few senators like former governor of Gombe state Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe) who chairs the committee on Appropriation "commiserated" with the Federal government led by the Executive arm on the sorry state of the economy, he suggested that the constituency projects should be funded partially instead of being ignored outright.
This however drew furious reaction by majority of lawmakers including Dino Melaye (APC Kogi) who said that the projects were legacies to be left behind by the senators to their constituents and the only avenue where they can feel the impact of governance.
He went ahead to warn the SGF never to "attempt" removing his (Melaye's) own constituency project from the budget insisting that the implementation of the projects will not in any way adversely affect the overall budget figures.
Dino Melaye's outburst drew commendation from all the senators present as it reinvigorated them to continue pushing for their demand.
A confused Danjuma Goje then did a complete 360 degrees turnaround and joined the rest to demand full funding for the constituency projects.
As the tension in the committee room gradually dropped, the lawmakers informed the SGF of the need for a cordial relationship between the executive and legislature but this was before a mild drama when Senator Obinna Ogba (PDP Ebonyi) accused the Mohammadu Buhari led administration of being unapologetically hateful of the Igbo nation.
The lawmaker who chairs the Senate committee on sports said the south Eastern States were totally left out in terms of federal government projects.
He sarcastically urged the SGF to "continue" with the marginalization as spearheaded by the leader of the government.
Before taking his leave from the meeting, the SGF reminded the lawmakers of the screaming headlines in the newspapers on purported moves to impeach the President and other "unwarranted" attacks on the executive arm of government orchestrated by the legislature.
He said for there to be a cordial relationship between the two arms of government, there must be reciprocal respect and understanding.
Senate spokesman Abdulahi Sabi (APC Niger) who was mandated by the Chairman of the joint Committees Sam Anyanwu (PDP Imo) to speak on the issue, said the headlines were only imaginations of the media houses in order to sell their papers.
He said at no time did the Senate or any Senator recommend the idea as was widely reported as being one of the suggestions made by Senator Dino Melaye during a closed door session on Tuesday.

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