2019 budget: lawmakers jeer Buhari (Updated)

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday was interrupted and jeered occasionally by some lawmakers while addressing the joint session of the National Assembly.

This occurred when the president presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill before the National Assembly.

In the presentation of the budget while explaining the budget in details, he was jeered by lawmakers who represent different political divisions and this led to a rowdy session in the parliament.

However, the awaited budget as proposed by the president for 2019 is N8.83 trillion.

The proposal showed that about a quarter of the sum (N2.14 trillion) will be used for debt servicing while capital expenditure is expected to take N2.03 trillion.

But as the president made mention of his achievements, some lawmakers, mainly of the opposition party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), unanimously said ‘No!’

This development however forced some All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers to have a verbal clash with their colleagues.

When Buhari said, “We have weathered the storms and made progress on every front,” the opposition lawmakers screamed, “Nooooo!”

When he said, “The economy has recovered well, ‎” the lawmakers shouted again.

The president who was displeased by the development responded to the lawmakers.

He said calmly “The world is watching us and we are supposed to be above this.”

The protesters paid deaf ears to his statement and continued, particularly when Buhari said his administration had succeeded in its anti-corruption campaign.

As soon as the president brought his speech to an end, the session turned rowdy again and while the pro-Buhari lawmakers chanted “four more years,” the opposition screamed,” no more years.”

One of the members who was among the protesters against the president, Kingsley Chinda (Rivers, PDP) said one of the main reasons the lawmakers protested was because of the “insincerity” of the presidency during the implementation of previous budgets.

“The presidency has not been fair to Nigerians when it comes to budget and most often they use that to blame the legislature.

“One example is, when it comes to capital releases, you will find out that they have performed very poorly.”

He said in spite of their poor performance, the president “still talks about how to turn the economy around when they have not released capital expenditures, what magic are they going to do?

“Today he told Nigerians that they have about N800 billion so far for capital expenditures as against N6.4 trillion, if you calculate that, it will give you about 16 per cent.

“What it means is that they have achieved just 16 per cent release of capital expenditures.”

He also remarked that the protest was not ‘planned’.

“The protest was not planned, it was spontaneous. This morning, people just felt there was a need for it,” he said.

According to him, they had the ‘support’ of their colleagues from the ruling APC.

“It is not just about PDP lawmakers, some of the APC lawmakers felt that because they belonged to the same political party with the president, it will not be tidy for them to come to the open.

“They are actually not happy with what is going on in the system,” he added.

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