Lagos lawyer and human rights activist Femi Falana (SAN) has called on the Federal Government to sue the National Assembly to the Supreme Court for inserting new projects into the 2017 Budget.
Falana argued that the National Assembly was totally wrong to have carried out such an action, and said to put the matter which has continued to rear its ugly head since 1999 to rest, the Federal Government must drag the lawmakers to the apex court.
The lawyer stated this in an interview on Channels TV, bemoaning the “precious time that has been wasted over who has the right to the project.”
“We have been on this game since 1999. This is about the fourth president. Every year, we have this controversy. It is totally uncalled for over the power of the National Assembly to tinker with the budget.
‘We have advised the government to put this matter to rest by approaching the Supreme Court. The precious time of the nation has been wasted over who has the right to the project. In 2014, I went to court. The court agreed that it is the duty of the president to prepare the budget, while the National Assembly, even though not a rubber stamp shall inform input into the budget. But that does not mean, according to the judgment, that it can be substituted with another by the National Assembly.
“The constitution says the ‘President shall cause to be prepared’. What does preparation mean? It means the Ministry of Budget, the Ministry of Finance and all the relevant agencies of government will prepare the budget and collate the figure, the Presidency would have done some feasibility studies.
“If that is presented to the National Assembly, it has the right to say ‘a similar secretariat was built in Ghana at a lower cost’. But you cannot say it will cost N205billion without any Bill of quantity. You cannot singlehandedly introduce new projects. Who is going to fund it?”
Halfway into the budget year, with the current recession in the land and all its pains and sufferings on Nigerians, the National Assembly and the Executive arms of government have continued to bicker on the issue of 2017 budget, which many believe could address the recession.
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