The Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla has declared that the National Assembly has no right to pad budgets.
Mr Obono-Obla made the declaration in a statement made available to Elombah.com on Sunday.
Obono-Obla’s statement was in response to claims by the Speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
Dogara had, on June 15, 2017, said that the National Assembly has powers to introduce new projects, add, remove or reduce items in the Appropriations Bills.
In a remark on a motion on matters of privilege moved by Hon. Lawal Abubakar (APC, Adamawa), Hon. Dogara maintained that the framers of the Constitution vested the powers of law making on the Legislature, Execution or implementation on the Executive while the Judiciary interprets the law so as to ensure checks and balances.
According to the Speaker, “a declaration as to which of the arms has the power and rights, in as much as it is related to the interpretation of the law, is the function of the judiciary and not of the executive.”
However, in sharp response, Obono-Obla said that the lawmakers have “no modicum or shred of power to include projects or appropriate money for projects that the executive branch of government did not include in the estimates or budget known as appropriation bill laid before it .
Speaking further, he said: “Conversely the national assembly cannot remove an item the executive has allocated to one ministry to another ministry or agency.
“Clearly the responsibility for the preparation of budge estimate or the appropriation bill lies squarely or wholly on the executive branch of government.
“The legislative powers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is established by Section 4 subsections 1,2 & 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended ).
“The National Assembly principally is empowered by Section 4 subsections 2 and 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to make laws for the peace, order and good government of the federation or any part thereof with respect to any matter included in the exclusive legislative list set out in part 1 of the second schedule to the Constitution to the exclusion of the States Houses of Assembly.
“On the other hand, the executive branch of government is vested by Section 5 subsections 1 (a) and (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to the execution and maintenance of the Constitution and all laws made by the National Assembly and to all matters with respect to which the National Assembly has for the time being, power to make laws,” he concluded.
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