The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the senate has tackled President Muhammadu Buhari over his recent comment on constituency projects.
On Tuesday, the president said N1 trillion had been spent on constituency projects in the last 10 years without anything to show for it.
Buhari spoke at a summit organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in collaboration with the office of the secretary to the government of the federation.
But speaking with reporters in Abuja on Wednesday, Enyinnaya Abaribe, senate minority leader, said the PDP lawmakers were not bothered about the comment because “somebody must have written a speech and then put false information” in it.
“We are not worried by the statement. The reason we are not worried is because we know that it was a statement that was erroneous,” Abaribe said.
“Somebody must have written a speech and then put false information in the speech. I have done constituency projects and we have always said that they are not done by senators or members of the house of representatives.
“They are domiciled in the executive who execute it. If the president said he has not seen anything, he should ask his ministers and his agencies under him as the executive as they are the people who have been executing these projects.”
ICPC blamed for Buhari’s comment
Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house, described the president’s statement as “a breach of our collective privileges.”
Gbajabiamila made the comments following a motion by Ndudi Elumelu, house minority leader, who spoke on order of privilege.
“My concern is the unintended consequences of the words from the report of the ICPC. It is okay to put the national assembly as the weeping boy,” the speaker said.
“The ICPC can use the Freedom of Information to request for details of the projects. I don’t think the ICPC will appreciate it if the National Assembly should do oversight on the agency using the budget. I want to use this medium to send a word to the ICPC to be careful, and do their work diligently.”
Earlier, Elumelu said constituency projects over time have not got up to a hundred percent capital release.
“In the past 10 years, N100 billion has been budgeted annually, but our constituents have not gotten value for the money spent. Yes money has been budgeted but the release has not been up to 50 percent,” he said.
“Section 4 of the 1999 constitution gives us the power to make laws, but the onus is on the executive to execute the project, we are not contractors.”
Also commenting on the issue, Godiya Akwashiki, senate spokesman, said the president made the statement as a “chief executive.”
“The president is the president of this country. He spoke as chief executive but you people sometimes you can be funny,” Akwashiki said.
“Mr President has not written to the national assembly officially on this matter. We have modes of communication and I want to believe if he has anything he writes to us, he will.”