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Buhari won’t sign 2016 budget, suspects foul play

Written by Maritime First
  • As Abducted Colonel is found dead in Kaduna

President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to sign the 2016 budget passed last week by the National Assembly because of suspected foul play by lawmakers. The President, it was learnt, has already received the budget, but it was, however, without details as to where the lawmakers made adjustments to the original proposal that was sent to them.

According to a reliable Presidential source, Buhari is anxious to sign the Appropriation Bill into law but the National Assembly only sent highlights without the details of what they eventually passed. The source noted that the President, as a result, has been handicapped in signing the bill because he does not know what was contained in the details and what adjustments the National Assembly must have made to the proposal sent to them.

According to the source, although Buhari was anxious to sign the document so that its implementation could start immediately to ease the tension in the economy and polity; he was afraid he might later discover, when the details are sent, that what is contained therein would not be implementable.

The source said the President wished the National Assembly could send in the details speedily so that it could be considered for assent. The source also said ministers were eager that the budget be signed so they could start implementing their programmes, but they were unable to push the President to sign what had been transmitted because they also did not know what is contained in the details.

“The ministers are particularly worried that the year is gradually aging and the provision of the law in respect of spending the previous year’s budget is not helping matters because of the low capital provision for 2015,” he said. The source further said: “Because of the low provision made last year for capital expenditure, spending 50 per cent of that provision for the first half of this year will make no impact on provision of infrastructure.

“The Budget Office cannot also work on the budget for implementation because it is the details, and not the highlights, that they convert into implementable templates for the respective MDAs. “This development confirms speculations that the National Assembly either did not complete work on the budget or are playing politics with the documents which affects the lives of both the country and its citizens.

“The National Assembly may just have passed the bill to pass the buck to the executive and escape the wrath of the public which was gradually suspecting it of sabotage.” It would be recalled that the National Assembly last week Wednesday passed a N6.06 trillion budget, reducing the proposal submitted by the President by N17 billion.

The President had proposed N6.07 trillion, but it was slashed to N6.06 trillion. Meanwhile, President Buhari will today leave Abuja for the United States to join President Barack Obama and about 60 other world leaders and heads of international organisations at the 4th Nuclear Security Summit which opens tomorrow.

A statement issued yesterday by Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said at plenary sessions of the summit dedicated to reinforcing international commitment to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, Buhari would insist that while Nigeria would continue to sustain that commitment, world powers must respect the right of other countries to the peaceful use of nuclear energy for development purposes.

The President would also reaffirm Nigeria’s stance that international efforts to ensure greater security of nuclear materials should maintain a balance between nuclear non-proliferation obligations and the indisputable right of Nigeria and other countries to harness nuclear energy and technology for socio-economic development.

It would be recalled that at a meeting with him in Abuja earlier this month, Buhari told the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr. Yukiya Amano, that the Federal Government would welcome greater support from the agency for Nigeria’s aspiration to begin the generation of electricity with nuclear energy.

While in Washington DC, the President and his delegation which includes Governors Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi); Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara); Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama; National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.) and the Director-General of Nigeria’s Nuclear Regulatory Agency, Prof. Lawrence Anikwe Dim, would also hold bilateral meetings with other participating Heads of Government and high-ranking United States Government officials. The delegation is expected back on Sunday.

In the meantime, a Senior Nigerian Army Officer, Col. Samaila Inusa, who was reportedly abducted at gunpoint at  the Refinery Junction in Chikun Local Government of Kaduna State was  found dead on Tuesday.

The Nigerian Army authority told newsmen in a statement that Inusa’s body was found in Kaduna. He was suspected that he was killed the same day he was abducted.

According to a statement signed by the Acting Director Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman, “Preliminary investigation revealed that most likely the late senior officer was killed the same day he was kidnapped by his abductors. This is because the body was found already decomposing  around  Ajyaita village off Eastern Bypass Kaduna, Kaduna State.

“The Nigerian Army wishes to regrettably inform the public that Colonel Samaila Inusa who was kidnapped on Sunday, 27th of March 2016,  was found dead today (Tuesday) at about 6pm.

“Arrangements  are in progress to move the body to the 44 Nigerian Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna. May His soul rest in peace, Amen.

“We wish to state in unmistakable terms that whoever is behind his abduction and murder would be fished out to face the full wrath of the law,” the statement read.

The late army officer  was abducted in his Mercedes-Benz car by gunmen suspected to be kidnappers around Kamazo, along Kaduna Refinery Road, in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

The abductors dropped off Colonel Inusa’s wife and left with him heading towards Abuja.

National Mirror with additional report from Punch

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Maritime First