Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has turned down the N3billion assigned to him for zonal projects in the North-east in his capacity as a principal officer of the House, it was gathered yesterday.
This is coming just as the Speaker and President Muhammadu Buhari have agreed to work together to resolve the crisis arising from the controversy over the 2016 budget.
It would be recalled that the House, had in an executive session on Wednesday, delegated the Speaker to meet with President Buhari to identify areas of concern in the budget and find a way of resolving it.
Dogara, it was learnt, met with President Buhari who was represent by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo that same Wednesday evening at the presidential villa, Abuja, to address controversial issues about the fiscal document.
A source close to the Speaker said that Dogara had rejected the N3bn meant for his zone as principal officer ab initio, saying that the money should be used to finance other important projects.
The source who preferred not to be named in print also disclosed that the Speaker, at the meeting with Osinbajo who represented President Buhari gave the President assurance that the lower chamber will work with the Executive to resolve all grey areas in the budget which was passed by the National Assembly and transmitted to him for assent.
Our source also disclosed that Dogara told the President that the N4 billion projects injected into the budget by the Chairman of the committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin for his Kiru/Bebeji Constituency in Kano state will be reallocated to other projects in the budget.
The House of Representatives had come under criticism for removing important projects such as the Calabar-Lagos rail project from the budget even though it maintains it was never among the projects submitted by the President.
The lawmakers were accused to have left the Kano/Lagos rail project untouched but also reduced the amount set for the completion of the Idu-Kaduna rail project which is said to have reached an advanced stage of completion by N8.7 billion.
Furthermore, the House was reported to have either removed or reduced provisions made in the areas of Agriculture and water resources aimed at diversification and moved the funds to provision of boreholes which had been provided for elsewhere.
But clarifying on the issue, the spokesperson of the House, Hon. Abdulaziz Namdas, at a briefing on Wednesday said, “We are not saying the Calabar-Lagos rail project is not good, we know it is a viable project. Our area of concern is what people are saying that it was in the budget and we removed it. That project was not among the projects submitted by Mr. President to the National Assembly”.