Senate To Restore Lagos-Calabar Rail Project In 2016 Budget
The senate has expressed its willingness to honour President Muhammadu Buhari’s wish for a Lagos-Calabar rail project, which was left out of the original budget and has been the subject of controversy since the weekend.
Speaking with journalists on Tuesday after a closed-door session of the senate, Abdullahi Sabi, spokesman of the senate, said that the way forward after the rail project controversy is for the executive to submit a supplementary budget, which would contain the Lagos-Calabar rail project.
Sabi had said in a statement on Monday that the item – Lagos-Calabar rail project – was not in the original budget, and had advised the presidency not to set the people against the national assembly.
“We issued that statement to clarify the situation and not to confront or threaten anybody,” he said at the media briefing.
“What we issued yesterday is our position. What we did today was to confirm. I will definitely remain guided by the tenets of the constitution.
“That the Lagos-Calabar project was not in the budget does not undermine its importance. The national assembly is open; whenever the executive brings the supplementary budget regarding the project, it will be honoured.
“But we must remain guided by the constitution. That we pass the budget has not ended our responsibility. We have to move to oversight functions.
“We know it is an important project and we are ready to honour it. “The way forward is that we have passed budget, and we are saying bring a supplementary appropriation bill.”
Gbenga Ashafa, the senator representing Lagos east and chairman of senate committee on land transport, had admitted on Monday that the rail project was missing from the original budget sent by the president to the national assembly. But he claimed that the omission was corrected by Rotimi Amaechi, the minister of transportation, during the budget defence.
The senate was so annoyed by Amaechi’s role in the controversy that it urged the minister to apologise or resign from office.?