Bukola Saraki, the president of the Nigerian Senate, has said that lack of due engagement with the parliament may force the majority of senators to oppose President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval to withdraw $1 billion to fund the purchase of security equipment.
Saraki also blamed unending Executive, Legislature friction on lack of consultation and collaboration between the two arms.
He said that some senators who spoke to him on the approved $1 billion security fund were uncomfortable that the President would approve the expenditure of such huge sum of money without recourse to the National Assembly.
The Senate President did not, however, say whether the upper chamber will block the use of the fund for what President Buhari intended.
Saraki spoke in Jos, Plateau State on Saturday, April 7, 2018, at a retreat on “Strengthening Executive-Legislature Relations”.
It is expected that President Buhari’s approval of $1 billion for the purchase of security equipment would be one of the topical issues for debate when the Senate resumes plenary on Tuesday.
The Senate President who insisted that Nigerians must be prepared to defend and protect the institution of the parliament, noted that government was all about institutions and not individuals.
He said that the number of blackmails some of them have received for doing the right thing was simply alarming.
He said that it is obvious that the National Assembly is constantly under attack by individuals who abhor the principles of separation of powers as enshrined by democratic doctrine.
Saraki insisted that protection of the institution of the parliament was the only way sustainable democracy could be guaranteed in the country “because without the legislature there will be no democracy.”
He also stressed the need to always do the appropriate thing at the appropriate time for things to work in the country.
On the approval of the $1 billion security equipment fund, Saraki said: “There is no way the security architecture of this country can work without a strong synergy between the executive and the legislature. When you see certain agencies who by their actions and utterances frustrate the relationship between the two arms, you begin to wonder what is going on.
“What do we need to do? Do the police need more funding or more powers? Do they need new legislation to strengthen them? These are the issues where the executive and the legislature must work together. What do we need to do?
“Just few days ago, the issue of providing funding for the purchase of security equipment was in the news. In a good environment, such an issue needed to have been discussed with lawmakers. Already, some senators are angry. They said they were not consulted by the executive before such a decision was taken. These are the issues we are talking about. Some people have already taken a position because they were not consulted. That is why I stressed the issue of collaboration between the two arms. The issue of engagement is important.”
The Senate President who said that friction between the two arms of government goes beyond party affiliations noted that “even during the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, the executive and legislature, had some frictions.”
According to him, “It means it is not about the party. It is not about any individual. It is about the system.”
Saraki said that it seemed officials of the executive arm have formed the habit of always blackmailing senators and members of the House of Representatives.
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