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Nigerian Senate counters Enang, denies budgetary provision for RUGA project

Nigerian Senate counters Enang, denies budgetary provision for RUGA project

The leadership of the Senate has denied claims by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly, Senate, Ita Enang that there is a N2.258 billion budgetary allocation for the suspended RUGA project in the 2019 federal budget.

The Senate also Sunday, challenged him to show Nigerians where the provision was inserted in the budget.

According to the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdulahi, the leadership of the Senate has scrutinised the current national fiscal document to authenticate the claims of the presidential liaison officer but found no amount meant for the implementation of Ruga programme in the 2019 budget.

It would be recalled that Enang was qouted to have said that the Federal Government made a provision of N2.258bn for the implementation of the programme in the 2019 budget.

Abdullahi however said in an interview that no such money was voted for the implementation of Ruga in the 2019 budget, challenging Enang to prove him wrong.

Abdullahi said: “We have gone through the 2019 budget critically and we did not come across any money that was voted for Ruga programme implementation there. Let Senator Ita Enang prove us wrong, then we will take the issue up from there.

“He who alleges must prove,” the Senate Leader added.

Also speaking on the claim, the Minority Leader of the Senate, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, assured Nigerians that the Senate will take necessary legislative actions would be taken on the issue when the federal lawmakers resume from their recess in September.

Abaribe also said investigation carried out by him on the issue had revealed that the N2.258bn Ruga fund might not have been specifically captured in the 2019 Federal Government budget.

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He said: “I spoke with Ita Enang and he told me that he was misquoted on the issue. So I don’t think we should go ahead discussing the pronouncement since he had told me that he was misquoted.

“I asked him where in the 2019 budget that money is. I also asked him why he would say states in the southern part of the country should support the programme and even provide land for the project and he (Enang) said he never said so.

“I don’t think that we can make further comments on a pronouncement that has been denied. For us, I don’t think any such thing was in the budget. I will have to go through the budget again and check properly.

“However, if such a thing comes up in the course of my findings, then we would do the needful. The Senate will certainly not be a part of anything that will cause disruption of peace and problems within the country.”

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Timothy Enietan-Matthews

Timothy is a versatile journalist, down to earth with a critical and curious mind.

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