Kaduna State governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, makes a shocking revelation about National Assembly (NASS) members, saying the lawmakers are not whole-heartedly committed to the corruption fight of the Buhari administration.
He also said that the annual budget of the NASS lacked transparency.
The governor stated this in his goodwill message at the closing ceremony of the five-day retreat of the National Assembly management personnel held in Kaduna.
His words: “The National Assembly is seen as an opposition to the fight against corruption, the National Assembly, particularly the Senate, is seen as one of the fighters of the war against corruption, I can be blunt, and that image has to be worked on, now that we are going towards election year, the leadership and members of the National Assembly have to do something about the narratives.
“I don’t believe that it is entirely true, I also don’t believe it is entirely false, but it is important that the National Assembly do something about its image”.
On the budget of the NASS, the governor said: “No transparency in your (NASS) budget, nobody knows your budget, how much you get paid. Publications are made about your salaries and allowances that I don’t believe are true, but they cannot be defended, because there is no transparency about your budget, personal cost and so on and so forth. I think you can do something about that to clear all the rumors and remove all the evil stories that are largely untrue”.
But in a swift reaction, the Senate Leader, Senator Ahmed Lawan, who represented the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on the occasion, countered the governor, saying that the NASS supported the fight against graft at all levels of governance.
“In the National Assembly, we fight corruption through our support and as a matter of fact, the anti-corruption agencies are our creation and for our budget, it is always in the public domain”.
He said the legislature and executive must work together to deliver on promises to Nigerians, adding that, Nigerians expected higher and better performances in terms of service.
“As legislators we are prepared to continue to support the administration of President Buhari either through the fight against corruption or in the confirmation of political appointees. Nigerians will change the change if we fail to perform”, he said.
However, reacting to the allegation of budgetary transparency of the NASS, the Speaker, House of Representatives Hon. Yakubu Dogara, told the governor that instructions had already been given to the appropriate quarters to publish the budget of the NASS.
Apparently, feeling unhappy with the statement of the governor, the speaker said: “You will have some kind of misfortune if you attempt to join issues with intellectuals, but as intellectuals we expand issues and add to discussion, so I will like to challenge you to champion the call for transparency in budgeting and budgetary process of NASS to other arms of government.
“We want to see clearly how chief executives of states are paid, what they spend monthly as security votes, and also publish what happens to local government funds.”