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Senate President Bukola Saraki has challenged the leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, to substantiate his allegation that he and other lawmakers have the habit of padding budgets.
Mr Saraki, in a statement by his media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said Mr Tinubu’s attack was unfounded and not predicated on facts.
The Senate President was reacting to a statement credited to Mr Tinubu, where he alleged that Mr Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, have been padding Nigeria’s budget since 2015.
“Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk hijacked the budget process these past four years,” Mr Tinubu had said in a statement released by Tunde Rahman, his spokesman.
“National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them. Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefitted the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly,” Mr Tinubu was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesperson.
Mr Saraki said the APC leader is ignorant of the legislative process that leads to budget passage. He also released a statement, part of which is reproduced below.
“First, he (Tinubu) alleged that national budgets were delayed, distorted, padded, new projects introduced, funds for projects reduced, “to halt the progress of government”. It is unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the Senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should have a better understanding of how the legislature works.