Budget Debate: SGF's Office Causes Rowdy Session At House Of Reps
Proceedings were halted, the noise was deafening, as tension rose, but no one will ever imagine such uproar would be caused by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
Debate on Nigeria's 2017 budget had opened gracefully, but few minutes into the debate, allocation in the budget to the office of the SGF was mentioned.
A total of 51 billion Naira had been allocated to the office of the SGF, but some lawmakers are not willing to see that amount fly for an office whose head had been indicted for corruption.
While some wanted the amount to fly, some others are not as willing to let it go through.
After minutes of arguments and shouts, the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara, intervened.
He told his colleagues that the fund was not meant for the SGF but for the parastatals under the SGF’s office.
That explanation calmed nerves and the session continued.
In the last few months, the National Assembly had asked the presidency to prosecute the suspended SGF for allegations of corruption around the award of contracts in Internally Displaced Persons camps in the northeast.
They said Mr Lawal flouted his Oath of Office and claimed that his act was aided by the Bureau of Public Procurement.
Lawal has denied the allegations, but that was not enough to avert his suspension by the executive arm of government.
He has been investigated by a committee set up by the executive and headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Their report has not been submitted to president Muhammadu Buhari who is now in the UK for medical follow-up.
This rowdy session at the House of Representatives is coming two days after a joint Committee on Appropriation (from the Senate and the House of Representatives) laid the budget before the National Assembly.
The Senate had given the indication that the 7.44 trillion Naira budget would be passed on Thursday, nearly 5 months after it was presented to the National Assembly in December by President Muhammadu Buhari.