… It”s unconstitutional – Ekweremadu
The National Assembly on Tuesday approved the virement request of president Muhammadu Buhari with an increment of over N33 billion.
Buhari had requested for N180billion virement from the 2016 Appropriation Act but both chambers of the National Assembly jerked it up.
While the House of Representatives passed the virement last Tuesday and jerked it up to N208billipn, the Senate passed it today and raised it to N213billion.
The approval of the virement was sequel to the adoption of the report of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, chaired by Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe).
Presenting the report of his Committee, Goje said in the course of the interaction with the MDAs, his committee saw the need to jerk up the President’s request.
He said N25 billion was provided for the payment of local contractors and N5billion for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Ministry of Housing.
Contributing to the debate, the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said virement was unconstitutional.
Quoting section 81 of the 1999 Constitution, Ekweremadu said, ” Virement is not known in our Constitution. There is nothing like virement, what we have is Appropriation Act and Supplementary budget”.
Responding to Ekweremadu observation, the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno) said, “You were Deputy Senate President for eight years under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and we had virement on many occasions and you did not notice that virement was illegal”.
In his remark, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki said the approval would ensure proper and efficient implementation of the budget.
On Ekweremadu’s observation, Saraki said, “we are all fully aware of that. If we stick to the Constitution, you are very right”.