President Muhammadu Buhari (l) presenting the 2016 Appropriation Budget Bill to a Joint Session of the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday, December 22, 2015. | NAN Photo

A legislative source has just confirmed to The Trent that copies of the 2016 budget submitted to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 22, 2015 have been reported missing.

According to our source, who doesn’t wish to be named because of the sensitive nature of the matter, none of the legislative staff of the Senate President or the Speaker of the House have seen a copy of the 2016 budget. There are speculations that a budget was never submitted by the President.

The Nigerian Senate resumed sitting on Tuesday, January 12, 2015 with deliberations on the 2016 budget top on the agenda. However, in a closed-door session, the Senate Leader, Senator Ali Ndume informed lawmakers that the document had been “stolen” from the National Assembly.

According to our source, because of this development, the Senators would have to wait for “fresh copies” to be sent from the Presidency. It was agreed that the matter be keep confidential while the Senate liases with the Presidency to obtain the document.

However, our sources within the Senate confirm to The Trent that the, now controversial, budget document was never submitted by the President in the first place.

“Let me just be honest with you, but do not quote me. There is no need for going up and down. Buhari submitted an empty carton to the National Assembly,” the source told our reporter. “All that ceremony was for a show, just to have it said that Buhari submitted a budget in 2015.”

“None of the legislative staff have seen the so called 2016 budget,” the source maintained. “For something to be declared stolen, it had to exist in the first place. This is just a face saving measure by the All Progressives Congress’ Senators.”

A senator, speaking anonymously confirmed to our reporter by phone that the 2016 Budget document was never sighted by any senator.

“Typically, the tradition is for copies of the budget to be made and circulated to key officers of the Senate and House of Assembly, we should have been given copies before going on the holidays. But that was never done. So, nobody, including Saraki can say they saw Buhari’s 2016 budget or what the figures are. This is shameful,” he said.

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