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House of Reps summons Minister over budget comments

The former Lagos state Governor had described the members of the National Assembly as having "stark and worrisome knowledge".

Nigeria's Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (SAN)

The former Lagos state Governor had described the members of the National Assembly as having "stark and worrisome knowledge" of the budget process.

The motion was raised by Honourable Sodiq Ibrahim (Adamawa), and it was unanimously backed by the House.

A war of words broke out between the two parties after the minister said the budget for the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway was slashed by more than two-thirds from N31 billion to N10 billion.

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He went further to claim they had no right to do so, saying, "I am not saying that the legislature cannot contribute to the budget, but I hold the view that it cannot increase the budget because they do not collect the revenue with which to run or implement the budget.

"It is unconstitutional for the National Assembly to legislate on state roads."

In a statement issued on Friday, June 23, by the Senate spokesperson, Sabi Abdullahi, he said the picture the minister was painting was "a deceit of the highest order."

He went further to say, "What we reduced from Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in the 2017 budget estimates was spread on Oyo-Ogbomoso Road in the South-West, Enugu-Onitsha Road in the South-East, and two other critical roads in the North-East and North-West. This was done to achieve equity."

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In the comments that has invited the summon, Fashola said on Monday, June 26, 2017, that it was sad lawmakers could resort to name-calling even without understanding the facts of the discourse.

According to him, comments on the second Niger Bridge, whose 2016 allocation the lawmakers claimed was not spent and had to be returned, "displays very stark and worrisome gaps in knowledge of the spokesperson about the budget process he was addressing."

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