Members of the House of Repre­sentatives have summoned the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN) over his allegations that the National Assembly (NASS) inserted new projects in the 2017 Budget.
Fashola will appear before a 14-man Ad-hoc Commit­tee to be chaired by Hon Aliyu Madaki.
His invitation followed the unanimous adoption of a motion under matter of privilege moved by Hon Sadiq Ibrahim (Adamawa).
While the National As­sembly was on its two-week Sallah break, Fashola complained that the parlia­ment in approving the 2017 budget, slashed funds for some strategic projects of his ministry and allocated same to lesser ones.
The minister expressed displeasure with the leg­islature’s unilateral altera­tion of the budget after engaging the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on a rigorous bud­get defence.
Fashola said that it was a waste of public funds, for the NASS to insert items not under the exclusive or con­current lists, citing the proj­ects affected as the alloca­tions for the rehabilitation of Lagos-Ibadan Express­way, the Bodo-Bonny Road and the Kano-Maiduguri Road, as well as the Second Niger Bridge among others.
The House, through its spokesman, Hon Abdul­razak Namdas, however, fired back, accusing Fashola of feeding Nigerians with “half- truths”, as well as of skewing his initial budget proposals to favour a sec­tion of the country, and poor performance of the 2016 budget, and so the justification for the adjust­ments.
Abubakar at the resump­tion of plenary of the House on Tuesday argued that Fashola’s utterances were a “breach of parliamentary privileges and an incite­ment of the citizens against the legislature.”
He added that there was the need to have the min­ister appear to clarify them.
Also supporting the mo­tion, Chief Whip of the House, Hon Alhassan Doguwa stressed that the House needed to be prop­erly briefed before drawing any conclusion, especially that this was coming after the budget has been passed and signed into law.
The Speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara, who announced the constitution of the ad-hoc committee, in his re­marks before ruling on the motion, lamented that there were some individuals who seemed to be above the law, and thus “speak how they like”.
Dogara said: “The time has come for us to rise and defend our mandate. Fasho­la has succeeded in breach­ing our privileges, individu­ally and collectively.”