Steve, interesting as “A DOG AND ITS BAD NAME” is, limiting corruption, which is an endemic structure in the Nigeria, to NASS is selective and, therefore, unfair. There are tabloids principally set up by the corrupt class to protect their “ogas’” interest and for which they are richly compensated. Even within the “cloned” liberal media class, few of their columnists are agents of corrupt political pundits. Forget any past leader, posing as a “saint”. Subject him to a probe and you will see corruption personified, their true beings, staring you in the face and rustling your mind. If people condemning the legislators had the slightest opportunity to get into the Green or Red chamber, they would wreak more havoc than the present bunch of legislators.
But note it, (Hon. Abdulmumin) Jibrin’s outcry is just a tip off the iceberg. Soon, chickens will start to devour one another’s intestine at the National Assembly. Your all-encompassing condemnation of all sectors of political leadership in Nigeria is undeniable, right and fair. Ignore the spurious posture of any political leader, feigning to be clean. If a leader says “I WILL STOP MEDICAL TREATMENT OF CIVIL SERVANTS ABROAD” and he is the first to breach it, not once but more times, what do you make of his anti-corruption claim? Balderdash!
May God save Nigeria, Aaaamen!!
-Lai Ashadele : 07067677806
You are not far from the truth on our leaders. We’re being deceived all the time that looted funds received will be published, yet nothing has been published so far. -Abisco 1: 08094483765
Dear Steve, your piece made my day. But let me share with you the grassroot feelings about PMB and his APC misadventures. A young man walked into a cooking gas plant and without any provocation warned that henceforth, no one should ask for their ‘Change’, but that they should ask for their ‘balance’.
I guess he meant equity. Can you do a piece on this perception, please. -Felix Emele: 08037451529
Steve, your article: ‘A dog and its bad name’, is excellent. It’s real food for thought, for the discerning mind. Thanks. -08033259839
You just laid bare the true picture of this grievous history-making regime, sir. Franktalk indeed! I’m your fellow Wailer.
Denen Lantya, from Makurdi -08131883317
My dear brother, Steve, may your pen not run dry. The hammer was on the head of the nail on the Franktalk of… A dog and its bad name.
-Chief Alwell Anyanwu 08037118121
Your write-up was great. Thank you very much
-Rev. Monye J. Gold 07058882573
Dear Mr. Frank, you made mention that Nigerians are getting disillusioned. With your negative reporting, be a true journalist. There are many positive things going on.
-Mrs. Abu : 08033112667
Police, DSS, EFCC, can’t probe Legislators
Contrary to widespread belief, there is no known offence called “Budget Padding” both in legislative parlance and in the laws of Nigeria. What most ignorant commentators, including lawyers, term as “Budget Padding” is the constitutionally-permitted act of legislators, adding or reducing sums of money already earmarked in programme or project estimates sent by the executive to the legislature for passage into law.
The constitution is quite clear as to whose responsibility it is to make laws in Nigeria. Section 4(2) of the constitution (as amended) says: “The National Assembly shall have the powers to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the Exclusive List set out in Part 1 of the Second Schedule of this constitution”. In other words, the constitution says that since the National Assembly is the most powerful institution of the state, it makes the laws, which the President of Nigeria, as the servant of the people, only implements or executes.
Of course, there are two sets of bills – the general and the money (Budget) bills. But the one that will arrest our attention here is the money bill. Under ‘Mode of exercising Federal Legislative Power: Money Bills’, Section 59(1a) of the constitution says: “The provisions of this Section shall apply to – an appropriation bill or a supplementary appropriation bill including any other bill for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation of any money charged thereon or any alteration in the amount of such a payment, issue or withdrawal”. From the foregoing, it is clear that it is the National Assembly that has the last or final say with regard to the actual cost profile of projects, programmes and services appropriated in the budget and not the President or the Ministers of Finance and Budget/National Planning.
Perhaps, for the education of the critics of our legislators, the Oxford Advanced Leaner’s Dictionary defines the word “Alter”, a verb, as “to become or make something different; to change in character, position, etc”, and “Alteration”, a noun, as “the action or process of changing something or making a change”. Now, if the constitution grants our legislature the power to alter or change the estimates made in an appropriation bill before passing it into law, what crime have they committed? If the same constitution grants our legislators the power to change the character (content) or positions (locations) of projects and programmes in a money bill before passing it into law, how can they be punished for carrying out their constitutional duty to the nation?
Even if we assume, without conceding, that our federal legislators did commit a crime called “Budget Padding” while passing the 2016 Appropriation Act, they cannot be probed and prosecuted by the police, EFCC, ICPC, DSS, etc. because the Law is clear that the courts cannot entertain legislative actions or activities carried out in the hallowed chambers of our Legislative Houses. Section 2(b) of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act under ‘Immunity from proceedings’ says: “No civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member of a Legislative House – in respect of words written in a report to that House or to any committee thereof or in any petition, bill, resolution, motion or question brought or introduced by him therein”. So, when a constitutional lawyer like Prof. Itse Sagay sadly joins the bandwagon of illiterate choristers to howl that our federal legislators should be investigated and prosecuted for committing the crime of “Budget Padding”, one wonders whether old age has not begun to overshadow things.
As Mr. Steve Nwosu profoundly offered in “A dog and its bad name” (Daily Sun, Wednesday, July 27, 2016, back page), “I get confused when we put all the blame on the Legislature and are permanently on their case, while the actual looting is going on in other arms” of the government. However, for me, it is only the idiotic that will allow himself or herself to be fooled into hankering after the personal salaries and allowances of legislators, as evidence of promoting a genuine fight against corruption while failing to demand accountability from the President and his ministers about the trillions of Naira voted in the yearly budgets for the provision of socio-economic amenities, infrastructures and services for the citizens’ welfare and development.
Mr. Nkemjika is an author and activist
([email protected], 07087541480)