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BudgIT expresses its disappointment in the National Assembly leadership for its failure to commit to the promises made in the course of the #OpenNASS campaign. Senate President Bukola Saraki made vows to provide details of the 2016 budget of the 469 Lawmakers in Nigeria allocated a sum of N115bn. The failure to uphold transparency in the use of public funds is evidential of the fact that the 8th NASS does not serve the interest of Nigerians, and this action is tantamount to corruption. The access to public spending details is a fundamental right of every Nigerian, and a demand by the people is a requirement that must be met.
Since 2011, the Nigerian National Assembly has been allocated a total sum of N835bn without no accountability or report on use of the public funds. Apart from allocations to National Assembly in the statutory transfer part of the national budget, National Assembly members are also allocated billions of naira for constituency projects which attract little or no accountability. Most of these funds are misused or stolen by officials who have failed to honour the office which they serve. The interest of the Nigerian people far outweighs the interests of many in government who find public funds as a source of enrichment.
The #OpenNASS campaign is about advocating transparency in the Legislative arm of the government. Taxpayers’ money are being used to fund lawmakers who have failed to fulfil their duties to the people. Citizens elected their representatives to serve in their interests and these officials have an obligation to be responsive to the demand of those they serve. Electorates demand the details of the National Assembly budget and Abubakar Bukola Saraki promised endlessly to uphold accountability in his time as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The demand for #OpenNASS is succinct, straightforward and unflinching: National Assembly must provide the details of the budget with line by line item break. When this is done, all other demands of the number of staff on NASS payroll and adoption of e-voting pattern will follow. Lack of information breeds perception. The general idea, with more convictions, is that legislators are in offices to suck taxpayers money with the largest straw they can find. Senator Bukola Saraki chewed on accountability at the Social Media Week Lagos in February and pledged to discharge in his capacity all actions to open the National Assembly budget to the people. In his tweets and at the civil society engagement in Abuja, Saraki made many commitments to stop the N115bn budget for the legislative to the people.
We believe that legislative openness should not be a problem in need of advocacy to solve, the arm of government responsible for making laws should uphold the law and be a beacon.
Radical transparency is the most effective tool to fight corruption in the society. We will continue our advocacy to make open the details of the National Assembly.
We demand TRANSPARENCY…We demand the particulars of the National Assembly Budget.
#OpenNASS is an initiative of BudgIT and Enough is Enough Nigeria.