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Senate Leader Denies Budget Padding, Scam in National Assembly

Ayodele Afolabi, Abuja

Against the backdrop of recent reports in the media, alleging that the 2016 budget was padded, the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume ( APC Borno South) has said that it should not in anyway be attributed to the National Assembly, being the Institution constitutionally responsible for budgetary appropriations.

Ndume also declared that the Senate cannot impeach President Mohammadu Buhari.

He said the alleged move was a ruse and even if actually thought off by some few senators at any time, such imagination can never become reality in any way because, the Senate alone cannot carry out such action in bicameral legislature.

Ndume who reacted to the alleged plot while fielding questions from journalists at the National Assembly on burning issues in the polity.

He said: “Senate cannot impeach the President, It is the National Assembly that can impeach the president and it is by 2/3 based on  clearly stated impeachable offences that must be served  on the president which he must respond to, or if he fails to respond , the process is there.

“It is a process, is a long tedious process and in this country we don’t even need that we are not even contemplating on it and even if anybody contemplates on it it is not going to work because this is APC senate; we have the majority, we have 58 to 60 senators and you need 72 senators to start off impeachment process.

“In a nutshell, the issue of impeachment is non existent in the senate .we don’t need it because we don’t have a  president that has issues of corruption, integrity, mismanagement of the economy at hand. We have a President that is straight forward and he doesn’t have any mismanagement of anything through  abuse of due process”.

He described the crisis rocking the House of Representatives over alleged budget padding as unfortunate, saying “there is nothing like budget padding as far the National Assembly is concerned”.

According to him, working on a budget either by adding to a vote already estimated for a proposed project or subtracting from it or even making new provisions as constitutionally empowered, cannot be said to be budget padding by the National Assembly.

His words: “I don’t want to say that there was budget padding and I don’t want to talk about something I really don’t know but what is happening in the House of Representatives is just very unfortunate because that is we have processes and procedure of doing things in the National Assembly.

“If somebody has an issue he supposed to know what to do and not just by going to the press  but I think they are going to sort out things in the next coming days .

“There is nothing like budget padding if it is the national assembly that works on the budget then you don’t call it padding because padding is like illegality which is not done here.

“But if there are certain abnormalities in the budget passed as against what transpired in the budget process which is now an appropriation Act.

“I think they should know the right thing to do rather than engaging in media war. They have relevant committee to handle such a matter, so, if Hon Jibrin  is aggrieved,  he needs to write  a petition or whatever and that should be referred to Ethics and Privileges for the needed investigation”.



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