Padding: Lawmakers have no business with constituency projects – Akintola

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Adeniyi Akintola, has said Nigerian lawmakers have no business with constituency projects, but to make laws that will enhance good governance.

Akintola stated this in an interview with Arabella Star Magazine in Abuja on Thursday while reacting to the allegation of padding of the 2024 appropriation bill by the Senate.

Akintola noted that under the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended), the national assembly had no power to execute any project; it is the responsibility of the executive.

Akintola lamented how the society had been aiding lawmakers to take up duties that were not theirs.

He attributed this to the ignorance of the electorate who, he said, kept on demanding national largess from their representatives.

“We cannot blame the national assembly members. The electorate don’t know that the national assembly function is to make laws and not to allocate projects.

“Unfortunately, it is the same electorate that will go to them and be asking for largess, palliative or what have you,” he said.

The legal luminary stressed the need for political education of the electorate to enhance good governance in the country.

He said Nigerians should hold their lawmakers accountable and ensure that they see to the implementation of budgets as stipulated.

According to him, appropriation bill is the business of the lawmakers, adding that they can either increase or reduce the amount allocated to any item by the executive arm of government.

“That the executive has come with a particular figure doesn’t make it final. It is the duty of the national assembly to appropriate money for specific sectors.

“So, there is nothing like padding as far as the national assembly is concerned; it is a misconception and misuse of words,” Akintola said.

NAN reports that the senate had, on Tuesday, had a stormy plenary, following allegations by Sen. Jarigbe Agom-Jarigbe, representing Cross River North Senatorial District, that some senators got N500 million each from the 2024 budget.

Agom-Jarigbe had stated this while the lawmakers were debating the claims by Sen. Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District that the national assembly padded the 2024 N28.7 trillion budget.

“If we want to go into this issue, all of us are culpable.

“Some senators here, so-called senior senators, got N500 million each. I am a ranking senator; I didn’t get. Did I go to the press? Most of you got. We don’t have to go into those issues,” the senator had said.

NAN reports that Ningi had, however, been suspended for three months by the senate after about three hours of debate over his budget padding allegation.

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