We Are Not Aware of Budget Padding, Says Presidency
Presidential liaison officers of President Muhammadu Buhari to the National Assembly, Senator Ita Enang and Hon Ismail Kawu, on Tuesday, said the word "padding' does not exist in the lexicon of Nigerian legislature.
Enang liaise with the Senate while Kawu is the liaison person in the House of Representatives.
They denied knowledge of any padding in the 2016budget presented to the Buhari for his assent adding that the budget being implemented already had no padding.
Enang and Kawu met behind closed doors for 3 hours with the apparatchiks of the All Progressives Congress (APC) charged with investigating the allegations made against the House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, by his ousted House Commitee on Appropriation chairman. Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, bordering on padding of the 2016 Budget.
Enang however, refused to give details of their meeting with the APC leadership, pointing out that they have all been asked not to make further public comment on the issue as the party was handling it as a family affair.
He said: “I am here on the invitation of the leadership of the APC with my colleague to bring answers to issues raised by the party on the 2016 Appropriation and we have been with the party for a little over three hours. We have given explanations to them on every issue and told them that there was nothing, to our knowledge, like padding of the budget.
“The budget as assented to by Mr. President is the budget as passed by the National Assembly and that is the budget being executed.
“But as of now, the party is handling it as a domestic issue, and all of us are enjoined not to make public comment on the details because the matter is still under consideration.
“So, that is what we will want to say for now, we will not want to go into the details of it so that we will not breach the ethics of the party, the directives of the party or pre-empt anything or any outcome of the party investigation.”
Asked whether the Presidency was giving the Leadership of the House of Representatives a clean bill over the issue, he said “I will want to say that we came here as persons who works as liaison officers on the budget because the party had questions for us and we came to make clarifications on the issues raised.
“We have made those clarifications and would not want to draw any conclusion. Please let us not go too far by mentioning any office. Let it be that the two of us appeared before the party.
“In all our years of legislative engagement, we are yet to find in the legislative lexicon the word ‘padding’. When the budget is presented before the legislature, the legislature is to consider the budget and pass as they deem fit. So what the legislature pass becomes the appropriation upon accent. Therefore, any word which is yet to crystallize in legislative lexicon, you cannot hear us mention it.”
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