The frosty relationship between the leadership of the National Assembly and President Muhammadu Buhari, may again be strained, as lawmakers have upped their game and are currently mounting pressure on the Federal Government to release all funds earmarked for their “constituency projects. The alleged constituency projects span from 2014 to new allocations for the same projects in 2015.
Sources at the ministry of Finance who are familiar with the ongoing power play are worried that the said money could be misappropriated by the lawmakers. Their worry is hinged on the fact that the funds maybe used to service loans incurred by the lawmakers during the electioneering campaigns.
Checks by Daily Sun Newspaper showed that out of the said N100 billion earmarked for the constituency projects last year by the National Assembly, N51.88 billion was reportedly not released due to funds unavailability. Additional N50 billion was provided for the projects in the 2015 budget by the government.
Considering the fact that funds budgeted for projects are released quarterly by the Federal Ministry of Finance, the government, earlier in the year, approved N12.5 billion for the projects for the first quarter of 2015. Another tranch of N12.5 billion was released as part of last year’s balance.
“The lawmakers are insisting that the entire last year’s shortfall of N51.88 billion and this year’s first quarter allocation of N12.5 billion be released immediately. They had stepped up pressure on the government for weeks,” a source familiar with the issue stated.
Chairman of the Senate Adhoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Dino Melaye could not be reached on phone to comment. However, spokesperson of the Senate President, Mr. Yusuf Olaniyonu said his job was to speak on behalf of the Senate President and not for the Senate. He further stated that the issue was too trivial and referred our correspondent to Melaye for further comments.