The impasse over the 2016 Budget assumed a rowdy dimension in the House of Representatives with members demanding the resignation of the
Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin.
They were furious that Jibrin influenced the allocation of projects worth N4.169billion to his constituency outside what was budgeted by the Executive.
Also, members opposed allocation of N40billion( at N20b apiece) to those in the leadership of both the Senate and the House.
They specifically faulted the concession of projects of over N3billion to the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara out of the N20billion for the House leadership.
Amidst shouting match, the lawmakers said the House should do away with past practices of personalising budget.
It was gathered that sensing likely protest at the plenary over the budget, the Speaker and his principal officers opted for an Executive session.
The Executive session began at about 11.30am on a sombre note with the Speaker offering some rapprochement in order to calm down frayed nerves.
A source at the session said: “After initial courtesies, the Speaker hit the point by claiming that everything being said about the budget remains hearsay because the Executive has not returned the Appropriation Bill.
“He quickly added a caveat by urging members to avoid anything which could affect the unity of the House.”
Lending weight to the Speaker’s plea, Hon. Monguno (Borno) urged members to “wait for reactions until the budget is returned.”
It was gathered that Dogara’s plea fell on deaf ears as members raised issues on the controversy surrounding the budget.
Some of those who spoke at the session on the budget included Nnana(Imo); Aliyu Sani Madaki( Kano); Prof. Mojeed Alabi(Osun); Douye Diri (Bayelsa) and Comrade Phillip Shuaibu( Edo).
Jibrin, who rose to defend the budget details, met more than he bargained for.
A ranking Representative said: “Most members were not persuaded by attempts by Jibrin to incite them against the Executive. They rose up and started shouting at Jibrin for not doing a diligent job.
“Some asked him whether it was the Executive that asked him to allocate huge projects to his constituency when there was no provision for these in the proposals of the Executive.
“Many were yelling and demanding Jibrin’s immediate resignation for the ineffective manner the Appropriation Committee handled the budget.
“Even when the Speaker called for calm, they shouted that they “cannot defend the indefensible in the press because Nigerians are angry against the National Assembly for playing politics with the budget.”
A lawmaker from the South-West said: “At the Executive session, members asked the leadership about the N40billion projects allocated to the principal officers of the Senate and the House. Each of the leadership of the two chambers will share N20billion projects.
“Members queried why N3billion projects have been allocated to the Speaker and why Jibrin favoured his constituency with N4.169billion projects.”
“The leadership said the N20b projects were captured under zonal intervention as it had been since 1999 but members said if others were doing it in the past, it should not be now.”
Some of the projects allocated to Jibrin’s Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency are:
- N100m for Town Hall
- Construction of roads in Kiru/Bebeji—N150m
- Solar street lights—N300m
- Badaf Road Construction—N405m
- Pedestrian Bridges —N200m
- Bebeji Earth Dam—N270m
- Empowerment items—N100m
- Entrepreneurship Development Training and Vocational Centre —N100m
- Rehabilitation of Gwarzo Kiru, Kwanar Maiyaki–N180m
- Rehabilitation of Sharada-Kwanar Dogara—N1.445billion
- Construction of solar powered boreholes–N150m
- Supply of tricycles, grinding machines and set of women salon empowerment kits—N200m
- Small irrigation scheme ins in Kiru—N100m
Findings revealed that at the end of the day, Speaker Dogara managed to douse the tension by begging members to sheathe their swords.