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2016 Budget Senate asks Buhari to resubmit controversial rail project proposal

Senate says it is open to accepting a supplementary budget that includes the Lagos-Calabar rail project.

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The Senate has agreed to entertain the controversial Lagos-Calabar rail project if, which was left out of the original 2016 budget submitted to the National Assembly (NASS), if resubmitted by the executive.

After a closed-door session of the senate on Tuesday, April 12, in Abuja, the upper chamber's spokesman, Abdullahi Sabi told journalists that NASS is open to accepting a supplementary budget that includes the Lagos-Calabar rail project.

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, had accused the NASS of removing the rail project from the budget details forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari - the allegation which the Senate denied on Monday, saying the project was not included the original budget in the first place.

“We issued that statement to clarify the situation and not to confront or threaten anybody," Sabi said at the media briefing.

“What we issued yesterday is our position. What we did today was to confirm. I will definitely remain guided by the tenets of the constitution.

“That the Lagos-Calabar project was not in the budget does not undermine its importance. The national assembly is open; whenever the executive brings the supplementary budget regarding the project, it will be honoured.

“But we must remain guided by the constitution. That we pass the budget has not ended our responsibility. We have to move to oversight functions.

“We know it is an important project and we are ready to honour it.

“The way forward is that we have passed budget, and we are saying bring a supplementary appropriation bill.”

READ: Reps accuse Amaechi of budget padding

Admitting that the rail project was indeed missing in the original budget, the senator representing Lagos east and chairman of senate committee on land transport, Gbenga Ashafa, said the omission was corrected by Amaechi during the budget defence.

Also in its statement on Monday, the senate had asked Amaechi to tender a public apology for wrongly accusing the upper chamber or resign.

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