By Emmanuel Aziken $ Inalegwu Shaibu
Abujaâ€”The Senate yesterday rebuffed criticisms of bloated budgetary proposals for the National Assembly in 2010 saying the N127 billion proposal for the federal legislature is meagre and insufficient.
The Senate assertion that the National Assembly was well under-funded came in the wake of recent criticisms by some prominent individuals alleging that the N127 billion proposal for the National Assembly was out of reality with the needs of the rest of the country.
Among those who have criticized the budget of the federal legislature are elderstatesman and erstwhile Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations, Alhaji Maitama Sule and erstwhile Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi.
Condemning the criticisms at a press briefing in the National Assembly complex yesterday, Senate spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze said: â€œFirst of all that is not a huge allocation.
There are three branches of government, there is the judiciary, there is the executive and there is the legislature. Out of N4 trillion, the only thing that is coming to one department, complete with its own service commission, with its own department and everything in the management and administration is N127 billion. That is meagre,â€™â€™ Senator Eze said.
â€œThe National Assembly is completely under-funded because we do not control the purse. For goodness sake, we are talking about a budget of N4 trillion and you are talking about N127 being a huge allocation and you have not even tried to analyse what this N127 billion is going into.
â€œThis N127 billion is part of the money for the National Assembly Service Commission, National Assembly management, they have provided for capital expenditure including building and all sorts of things.
â€œWhat is the budget of just one ministry? Just a ministry which is a department of an executive branch. Ministry of Education has N154 billion. How much is provided for defence? How much is the budget for the judiciary,â€™â€™ Senator Eze asked.
Bankole consoles IG, CP, others on murder of Area Commander
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, has commiserated with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonna Onovo, and the Ogun State Police Commissioner, Mr. Hamisu Argungun on the brutal murder of one of its senior officers, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Mr. Oladokun Omolodun during the Ijebu-Ife violent crisis.
The Speaker equally console the families of the officer and other victims of the mayhem that resulted from the death of a tailor following a misunderstanding with members of the town vigilante group.