The controversy trailing the 2016 budget of the Federal Government got messier, yesterday, as legislators in the two chambers of the National Assembly, NASS, broke ranks with the official position of NASS which blamed the Presidency for the fiasco.
While senators from the southern part of the country, in a formal position, asked the President not to give his assent to the budget without the inclusion of the Calabar – Lagos railway project included in it, members of the House of Representatives in a closed-door session rose against Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, who they blamed for orchestrating the face-off.
The southern senators and members of the House of Representatives from across ethnic and party lines were miffed by what they described as the central role of Jibrin in removing the Calabar–Lagos rail line from the federal budget.
While the Southern senators asked the President not to give his assent without the inclusion of the rail line, the House requested the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, to interface with President Muhammadu Buhari towards resolving the imbroglio.
The face-off in the House ensued shortly after it went into a closed-door session and Speaker Dogara sought explanations from Jibrin on the issues concerning the budget.
As Jibrin got up to explain the procedure adopted, he was faced with criticisms from several members, leading to an uproar.
Members in different tones, accused him of muddling up the reputation of the House and putting the legislature and the Presidency in an unnecessary face-off.
They alleged that recommendations put up by the House committees were unilaterally tampered with by the Jibrin-led House Committee on Appropriation.
At the end of the session with members seemingly convinced that the problem arose from the legislature, the members urged the speaker to seek audience with the President to remedy the situation.