Lawmakers groan as NASS' sitting is reduced to once a week over lack of funds
- The NASS is struggling with the lack of funds to carry out some oversight functions
- Because of this, both the Senate and House of Representatives cannot hold their sessions thrice a week as required in the Nigerian constitution
- Some lawmakers allege that this is caused by the failure of the Ministry of Finance to release funds to the legislative bodies
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No doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on the activities of the National Assembly (NASS) with special regards to the constitutional number of plenary sessions for each week.
However, some investigations have revealed that the lack of funds is another chief reason the Senate and the House of Representatives have been struggling to meet twice a week.
Some senators who spoke with Guardian alleged that the delay of the Ministry of Finance in paying lawmakers' allowances and other entitlements is another stumbling block.
In fact, it has been claimed that the first line charge budgetary provision for the NASS has not been met since the inception of the current administration.
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One of the lawmakers who spoke on this without revealing his identity said:
“Also, informal methods of raising funds from federal agencies to support parliamentary needs are no longer as effective as they were.”
Meanwhile, all was set and ready at the NASS complex for the 2021 budget presentation by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, October 8, 2020 by 11 am.
The Department of State Security (DSS) operatives were stationed at the two entrances with about 10 officials manning the area.
Only visitors with designated tags were allowed on the premises as journalists and staff without tags were turned back.
However, when Austin Adesoro, an information officer in the office of the speaker arrived by 7am, he asked that reporters who had means of identity be allowed in.
Three DSS operatives were also spotted sitting at the side entrance of the Green Chamber where the joint session was to be held. A mixture of men from the DSS and Sergeants-at -Arms secured the main entrance.
Onyirioha Nnamdi is a graduate of Literature and English Language at the University of Lagos. He is a Politics/Current Affairs Editor who writes on news and political topics for Legit.ng. He brings into his reporting a wealth of experience in creative and analytical writing. Nnamdi has a major interest in local and global politics.