By Akanimo Sampson
POLITICAL activist and a prominent opposition leader in Cross River State, Obono Obla, has lashed out at the federal legislators from the state for their alleged ineptitude over the removal of the N60 billion Calabar-Lagos coastal rail line from the 2016 Appropriation.
But the National Assembly has repeatedly claimed that the rail project was not part of the budget President Muhammadu Buhari, presented to them for legislative action. Instead, the legislative arm of the Fedral Government is accusing Transportation Minister, Chibuike Amaechi, of allegedly smuggling the project into the budget.
The obviously angry Obla, says members of the National Assembly from the state are have suddenly become deaf and dunb, and allegedly feigning ignorance of the development. Surprisingly, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Owan Enoh, is from Cross River and Chris Agibe, who represents Boki/Ikom Federal Constituency is also a member of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation.
According to the hard-hitting activist, ”it is unbelievable, inconceivable and outrageous that members of the National Assembly from Cross River (comprising eight members of the House of Representatives and three Senators) are among members of the National Assembly that voted in favour of the removal of the proposed Lagos-Calabar Railway Line Project from the 2016 Appropriation Bill (otherwise known as 2016 budget) which details were sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for his assent in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
”Upon studying of the details, President Buhari and the Executive Council of the Federation curiously discovered that the National Assembly has fundamentally distorted and indeed removed so many projects that were intended to ameliorate the plight of the common people.
”One of such projects is the proposed Lagos-Calabar Rail Line! It is unpardonable that any member of the National Assembly from Cross River State would vote against the inclusion of the proposed Lagos-Calabar Rail Line in the 2016 National Budget!
”These members of the National Assembly are really self serving and selfish! They must be called to order by members of their constituencies!
“It is pertinent to note that the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance is Senator John Eno Owan who is representing Cross River Central Senatorial District in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria played a central role in the Appropriation Bill by the National Assembly! Senator Owan owes the people of Cross River State more explanation!”