#Budget2019: Nothing abnormal in lawmakers reaction during Buhari’s presentation – Namdas

A high level drama laced with protests and commotion characterised the joint sitting of the parliament yesterday as President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2019 Appropriation Bill to the National Assembly.

The atmosphere was tension-soaked and the proceedings witnessed series of interruptions and interjections as lawmakers from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their counterparts from the All Progressives Congress (APC) turned it into a political campaign rally. Although, the budget presentation was scheduled to commence at 11a.m., President Buhari and his entourage arrived the National Assembly until nearly two hours later. The delay, New Telegraph learnt, was due to security reports that some lawmakers were poised to embarrass the President and the leadership of the National Assembly used the interlude to pacify the aggrieved parliamentarians.

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Reacting to the development on the floor, spokesman for the House, Hon. Abdulrazaq Namdas said what happened was ‘democracy in action”.

He said: “What happened on the floor is democracy in action. There is nothing abnormal about it. You could see that while members of the ruling party were hailing the president, the opposition was also doing its own. But at the end of the day, the president presented his budget.”

Namdas said that the lawmakers were yet to receive their constituency allowances. “I want to say it on record here that 50 per cent of the constituency allowance has not been released. The executive has promised to release, but none of us has been able to access it. None of the contractors on our sites have been given anything. We still have not been given our constituency allowance.” Reacting to the budget proposal, the PDP caucus in the House described the 2019 budget as “yet another hollow ritual”, saying President Buhari has failed to implement successive budgets since 2016 and was guilty of ‘impeachable offence’. Deputy minority leader, Hon. Chukwuka Onyeama (PDP, Anambra), who disclosed this at a press conference urged Nigerians to use their PVCs wisely and vote out the President Buhari’s led APC government in 2019.

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