The Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, has dismissed the ongoing altercation between the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Abdulmumin Jibrin, former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, as mere media hype borne out of personal differences.
He said this on Friday while fielding questions from State House correspondents after observing the Friday Jumaat prayers with President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ndume said, “The issue of budget padding is more of a media hype than reality. We are not doing budget now, we only have Appropriation Act which is a law and you know the process of implementing a law.”
“What is happening now is a fallout between individuals, it is more of personal thing between Dogara and Jibrin. That is not the way differences should be settled. We have an in-house process that is followed if we have such issues,” he added.
The Senate Leader said members of the National Assembly are empowered by the constitutions to make changes and adjustments to the constitution otherwise there would have been no need for the president to send the budget to the legislators.
“I do not know where the issue of this budget padding we are talking about is coming from. If we are not to tinker with the budget as submitted by the President, then there would not have been the need to submit it to the National Assembly.
“We have the constitutional duty to add, subtract and adjust. That was what was done. This is the first time we did a budget that was collectively produced in the sense that it was done in such a way that the Senate, House of Representatives and the Executive played different parts,” Ndume said.
He added that in this year’s budget, “the President took his time to ensure that he did not only sign on the budget, but also signed on budget details that he is satisfied with.”
Ndume said he had been reaching out to the parties involved in the crisis in order to settle the disagreement peacefully.