Buhari punished NASS members by not funding projects – Saraki

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Yusuph Olaniyonu, the media aide to Bukola Saraki, an ex-president of the senate, says former President Muhammadu Buhari refused to fund constituency projects of the eighth national assembly because its members scrutinised his loan requests.

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Olaniyonu was reacting to comments by Senate President Godswill Akpabio that he was not part of the red chamber led by Saraki noting that it only funded 40 percent of constituency projects.

Akpabio was the minority leader at the time.

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Under the leadership of Saraki, the senate rejected a loan request by Buhari because it was not accompanied by explanations for projects he intended to fund at the time.

In a statement on Thursday, Olaniyonu said Akpabio ought to know about the issue because he was the minority leader for about three years.

“Our initial response was to ignore the report because Dr. Saraki believes there are more serious existential issues confronting our country and her people like hunger and extreme hardship which should keep the leaders disturbed, busier, and more focused than throwing banters,” the statement reads.

“However, he has also been persuaded by the need to explain the project funding process in the budget such that members of the public will not be misguided about the roles of the various institutions and individuals in the process.

“For clarification, the Saraki Media Office will want members of the public to note that then President Muhammadu Buhari deliberately refused to approve funds for the constituency projects of members of the eighth National Assembly obviously to punish the members for questioning some of the loan requests presented by the executive before the legislature.

“Instead of viewing the legislature’s scrutiny of the loan’s request and the demand for elaborate explanations that would help in making informed decisions as democratic necessities, the Buhari government’s reaction was to be hostile and to seek to stifle the performance of the legislature.

“The refusal to fund constituency projects of members of the legislature was used as one of the retaliatory instruments. That was the experience of the 8th National Assembly.

“Mr. Akpabio, as Senate minority leader for over three years in the four-year tenure of the 8th Senate, ought to know better and even his experience as Senate President in the last eight months also ought to have made him more informed.”

Saraki’s spokesperson said the eighth senate could not be held responsible for failure to fund constituency projects.

 

 

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