Fred Itua, Abuja
Barely 48 hours to the resumption of the upper legislative chamber, senators are protesting the secrecy surrounding the details of the National Assembly’s N128 billion budget.
Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Ibrahim Hadejia and a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from Jigawa State, said that they are oblivious of the details of the National Assembly budget.
“I am not aware that the details of the budget are not given. Was it not the details that gave birth to the N37 billion renovation of the National Assembly? If the details were not there, how would people have known?
“The N128 billion for the National Assembly, the details are never there. I don’t know. I cannot give you details about budget, which I am not privy to and I was not part of those who put it together.
“This is something that you need to forward your question to the appropriate quarters. You can meet the appropriation committee because they know what goes into where,” Hadejia said.
Senate spokesman, Godiya Akwashiki, while commenting, shifted the blame to the Clerk to the National Assembly, saying that as the chief accounting officer, he is in a better position to offer more explanations.
“The Clerk to the National Assembly is supposed to be in charge of that. Being the accounting officer of the National Assembly, he is in the best position to give the details. The disbursement of funds for the capital component of the budget is the duty of the National Assembly bureaucracy.
“We don’t execute capital projects as senators. We only collect our salaries and allowances. We don’t award contracts neither do we determine the contractors that would get the jobs. The National Assembly budget is a public document and since the Senate President has promised to make the budget transparent, he should be in the best position to speak on the issue,” Akwashiki said.