- Southeast senators react over alleged slash of allocation for Enugu Airport Terminal
- The chairman of the caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, says no Igbo man would support any cut on allocation for projects in the southeast region
- SERAP accuses the leadership and members of the National Assembly of engaging in crimes against humanity
The southeast Senate caucus has expressed shock over reported cut in the 2018 budget allocation for the Enugu Airport Terminal.
The caucus also alleged N30 billion was smuggled into the power budget without the knowledge of the Senate committee on power, steel development and metallurgy.
The chairman of the caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, and lawmakers from the region said they learnt that an allocation of N2 billion sustained by the two aviation committees of the Senate and House of Representatives, were said to have been slashed to N500 million.
He said that the caucus had summoned an emergency meeting of southeast lawmakers to unravel when the cut was effected and by who, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
He added that “no right thinking Igbo man would support any cut on allocation for projects in the South East region.”
Abaribe, who said that the budget documents were verifiable, noted that “we are committed and determined to find out who made the cut".
He said that the caucus actually lobbied for the Enugu Airport Terminal allocation to be increased to N3.5 billion until the ministry of aviation told members of the caucus that what they had was an envelope which could not be increased beyond the N2 billion allocation.
Abaribe, who is also the chairman, Senate committee on power, steel development and Metallurgy, noted for instance that N30 billion was smuggled into the power budget without his committee’s knowledge.
He said that the N30 billion was listed for expansion and re-enforcement of infrastructure in the distribution companies to reduce stranded firms.
He added that “the amount never passed through the Senate power committee.
“Where did such huge sum of N30 billion come from.
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“Let the budget office and other relevant bodies conduct self examination. Such self examination will go a long way to clear gray areas.”
He explained that “in the case of the Enugu Airport Terminal and the Second Niger Bridge, we want to find out at what point the cut was made".
President Muhammadu Buhari who signed the 2018 budget on Wednesday, June 20, said that the National Assembly made cuts amounting to N347 billion in the allocation to 4,700 projects submitted to it for consideration.
He also said that 6,403 projects were injected, amounting to N578 billion.
He stressed that many of the project cuts were critical and may be difficult, if not impossible, to implement with the reduced allocation.
Meanwhile, the leadership and members of the National Assembly have been accused by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) of “apparently engaging in crimes against humanity against millions of Nigerians, Vanguard reports.
Legit.ng gathered that SERAP said the National Assembly is doing this by by unilaterally cutting funding for critical projects such as health, water, education, housing and security, and replacing such projects with their own personal projects totalling 6,403 projects and amounting to N578 billion.
According to the group the National Assembly cut funding for over 4,000 critical projects amounting to N347 billion.
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