President Muhammadu Buhari has written to the Nationally Assembly to formally request the withdrawal of the 2016 Appropriation Bill he had presented to a joint session of the federal legislature on December 22 for adjustment. The presidency had first tried to sneak in the adjustments supposedly to prevent embarrassments, but was called out by the senate which said in a statement that it would ”protect its integrity and honour” by only considering the original document Buhari laid and not the second version which his senior special assistant, Ita Enang, brought in through the back door.
Last week, the budget was one of the major talking points as reports had first emerged that it was missing, followed by denials by both the presidency and the senate, before senate president Bukola Saraki confirmed that two versions of the document were in the possession of the upper house.
Buhari’s letter seeking to withdraw the document was addressed to Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, according to a report by Thisday newspaper.
Aso Rock must have felt that sneaking in the budget would help it save face as the old version contained too many excesses. Since the old version was never officially released to the public, the presidency wanted to secretly drop a new version and claim that it was what was submitted to the assembly all along. However, the senate was not willing to play ball.
The old budget contained major omissions like absence of allocation for the second Niger Bridge; as well as humongous sums allocated for line items within the budget of the presidency, some of which has now been reviewed.