By Ikechukwu Okaforadi and Musa Adamu
Contrary to its earlier statement that it will pass the 2020 appropriation Bill on Thursday, November 28, Senate yesterday rescheduled the passage of the money bill to December 3I.
The resolution was based on a motion raised by chairman Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jibril Barau (Kano North), which was granted by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan.
Senator Barau who drew the attention of the Senate to his committee’s inability to present the appropriation Bill on Thursday this week for consideration through Order 43 of Senate Rule, requested his colleagues to give his committee up to Tuesday next week to tidy up his report.
Similarly, the Senate yesterday received a request from President Muhammadu Buhari for the consideration and passage of the 2019/2020 budget estimates for the Nigerian Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The request was contained in a letter addressed to the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, and read on the floor during plenary.
The letter reads: “Pursuant to Section 18(1) of the Nigerian Delta Development Commission Establishment Act, I forward herewith 2019/2020 budget estimates of the Niger Delta Development Commission for the kind consideration and passage by the Senate.
“While hoping that the Senate will consider this request in the usual expeditious manner, please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest consideration.”
Immediately after the letter was read, the Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe, raising order 43 of the Senate standing rules, drew the attention of his colleagues to the fact that members of the NDDC board duly confirmed by the Senate were yet to assume duty.
According to him, the failure of the executive to swear-in members of the board duly confirmed by the Senate, may threaten early consideration and quick passage of the 2019/2020 budget of the NDDC.
He added that the Interim Committee of the NDDC, led by Joy Nunieh, is an “illegal contraption” that lacks the backing of law to defend the commission’s budget.
Lawan, who sustained Abaribe’s point of order in his ruling said, “We are receiving the budget of the NDDC for the year 2020 at the right time.
“This is the first time ever, and this is a good sign that we are operating on the same frequency with the executive arm of government; that we are in a hurry to deal with matters of the budget because it is an issue that will bring about development in the country.”