Nigeria Newspapers

Saraki’s office knocks Akpabio over constituency project funding

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The Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office has responded to Senate President, Godswill Akpabio’s recent accusations that the leadership of the 8th Senate failed to fully fund constituency projects for its members.

Reacting to a comment by the Chief Whip of the red chamber, Ali Ndume, on Wednesday, Akpabio said he was a member of the “Nigerian Senate” and not “Saraki’s Senate.”

Akpabio said, “This is the Nigerian Senate. If you say I was part of Saraki’s Senate, it means I was part of those who paid 40 per cent of the constituency project, and 60 per cent has not been paid up till today.”

However, In a statement released on Thursday by the Head of Abubakar Bukola Saraki Media Office, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki’s office stated, “Our initial response was to ignore the report because Dr. Saraki believes there are more serious existential issues confronting our country and her people like hunger and extreme hardship which should keep the leaders disturbed, busier, and more focused than throwing banters.

“However, the office felt compelled to explain the project funding process to prevent the public from being misguided about the roles of various institutions and individuals.

“For clarification, the Saraki Media Office will want members of the public to note that then President Muhammadu Buhari deliberately refused to approve funds for the constituency projects of members of the Eighth National Assembly obviously to punish the members for questioning some of the loan requests presented by the executive before the legislature.”

The office accused the Buhari government of being hostile towards the legislature’s scrutiny of loan requests, stating, “Instead of viewing the legislature’s scrutiny of the loan’s request and the demand for elaborate explanations that would help in making informed decisions as democratic necessities, the Buhari government’s reaction was to be hostile and to seek to stifle the performance of the legislature.”

“The refusal to fund constituency projects of members of the legislature was used as one of the retaliatory instruments. That was the experience of the 8th National Assembly,” the statement read.

The office also took a swipe at Akpabio, who served as Senate minority leader for over three years during the 8th Senate’s tenure.

“Mr. Akpabio, as Senate minority leader for over three years in the four-year tenure of the 8th Senate ought to know better and even his experience as Senate President in the last eight months also ought to have made him more informed.

“Therefore, Mr. Akpabio is very well aware that the leadership of the Eighth Senate cannot be held responsible for failure to fund constituency projects,” it noted.

The statement said Akpabio was playing politics with facts and making a joke of serious national issues, stating, “Unfortunately, he chose to play politics with facts, and as usual, make a joke and jest with serious national issues.”