• We’ll decide who signs budget at Presidency –Lai Mohammed
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Exactly two weeks after the Senate screened and confirmed two ministerial nominees forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari, they are yet to be sworn-in.
President Buhari had, in March, forwarded the names of Stephen Ocheni (Kogi State) and Suleiman Zanna Hassan (Gombe State), to the Senate for confirmation as ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While Ocheni replaces James Ocholi, former Minister of State for Labour and Employment, who died in an auto-crash in 2016, Hassan takes over from Amina Mohammed who resigned as Minister of Environment to assume office as Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN). Yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting was the second Acting President Yemi Osinbajo would preside over inside the Council Chambers of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja President Buhari left the country for London on Sunday, May 7, for follow-up medical consultation with his doctors. How long he will be away for, will be determined by the doctors, Adesina had said in a statement.
Ministers are usually sworn in and assigned portfolios a week after their confirmation by the upper legislative chamber.
Buhari had receive the 82 Chibok girls, who were released on Saturday, May 6, before departing for his medical follow ups.
The president had transmitted letters about the trip to the Senate and the House of Representatives, in compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.
The swearing-in of the ministers was, however, part of Wednesday’s schedule of the acting president.
Meanwhile, there appears to be confusion over who, between President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, will sign the passed 2017 budget when it is eventually transmitted to the Presidency by the Senate. Although it’s assumed that in the absence of Buhari, Osinbajo will sign the budget, it has emerged that no decision has been taken on whether or not Osinbajo would sign.
The tradition has been for the National Assembly to transmit the passed budget to the president, who then directs the relevant officials to cross-check the documents or do so with them.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of yesterday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Osinbajo, said the National Assembly was yet to officially transmit the budget to the presidency, adding that the decision will be taken on that when it eventually does.
He said: “In respect of the budget, it was only this morning that the Minister of Budget and National Planning informed the Council that the budget has been passed. He has not sent to us, individually, copies of the passed budget. We will now need to look at it against what we sent, and if there is any discrepancies we will report back to the minister of budget and national planning for harmonisation.”
Asked who will sign the budget, Mohammed replied, “When it is transmitted to the Presidency that decision will be taken.”
On the implementation of the 2016 budget, he said: “The ministry of budget and national planning will make the implementation of the 2016 budget public. They have told us at the Town Hall meeting that about N1.2 trillion was released for capital.”
President Buhari left for London on Sunday, May 7, for follow-up medical consultation with his doctors. The president had transmitted letters on the trip to the Senate and the House of Representatives, in compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution.
He had said while in London, “government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the Vice President.”
The swearing-in of the ministers was, however, not part of yesterday’s schedule of the acting president.