Nasarawa Lawmakers Shun 2016 Budget Over Constituency Project Allowance, Official Vehicles

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Rabiu Omaku

  • Governor fixes 31st December 2015 as new date For Budget Presentation-SSA Media & Publicity

All is not well between the Nasarawa State Lawmakers and the State Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, gathered that this can be seen in the way and manner the State Assembly lawmakers yesterday shunned the budget presentation without any communication.

As at about 2:35 pm yesterday guest mostly cabinet members, Senior Special Assistants, Special Advisers and Heads of parastatals including think-tank of the ruling All Progressives Congress Congress members, Council chairmen including host of Journalists were stranded for over three hours waiting in vain for the Governor and the lawmakers despite the presence of heads of protocol unit popularly called advance party.

One of the member who spoke in confidence said the Governor must pay them their constituency project allowance as well buy them an official vehicle instead of procuring hilux van for committee work, He also expressed displeasure over the cut in their monthly salary which amounted to millions of naira during the last session of the Assembly.

“Constituency project allowance is our right not a privilege and is not something we must lobby for”.

Assembly sources unfolded that twenty four hours to the presentation of 2016 budget some selected APC lawmakers held an executive session with a motive to lure members of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party to ensure a hitch- free budget presentation, a session which hit brick wall as APC controlled House resisted the way and manner the Governor handled the welfare of lawmakers.

“We are not rubber stamp as people called us, checkmating the chief executive remains our mandate and we must persuade it hook, line and sinker”.

The prolonged meeting between the Governor and the members ended in a gridlock as no position was taken by the lawmakers as they insisted on the payment of their allowances after spending over seven months in office.

Other issues between the executive and legislative arm was the refusal of the state Governor to suspend the Vice Chancellor of the Nasarawa State University Keffi, Professor Muhammed Mainoma after the resolution of the House.

The Vice chancellor was accused by the state House of Assembly over financial incongruity and admission fraud, The lawmakers, according to source are at loggerhead with the chief executive over VC’s  excesses as the Governor was accused of spending a whooping N3bn that was not appropriated by the budget.

Some heavyweights at the Assembly blamed the state Governor for the poor arrangement in this year’s budget; Majority of Assembly staff attested that they were taken unaware of the presentation of 2016 appropriation bill.

“What made us to believe that the budget presentation will hold was the presence of journalists, commissioners, tight security because the members are on recess, He added.

But the Press secretary to the Speaker, Jibrin Gwamna when contacted declined any comment over the whereabouts of the lawmakers, I’m not aware of the whole arrangement because I represented the state chairman of the NUJ during the burial of one of our member, He added.

The chairman House committee on Information, Honorable Makpa Mala (ÀPC) representing Wamba could not be reached as at press time as all his mobile phones number were not responding.

The commissioner for Budget and Implementation could not be reached as today (Thursday) was declared public holiday, All efforts to get the mobile contact of the commissioner proved abortive as at press time.

Meanwhile the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor of Nasarawa State on Media and Publicity, Ahmed Tukur has said 31/12/2015 has been fixed as a new date for the presentation of 2016 appropriation bill to the members of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly.

The reaction of the media aide to Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura may not be unconnected to the melodrama that ensued at the red chamber of the Nasarawa State House of Assembly yesterday as the twenty four (24) lawmakers shunned the presentation of 2016 appropriation bill by the Chief Executive, Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura .

In a telephone conversation he opined that there is no lapses between the state Governor and the members,” The rescheduling of 31/12/2015 as a new date is still within the time frame for the presentation of 2016 appropriation bill.

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