BY Dyepkazah Shibayan
The senate has suspended a request by President Muhammadu Buhari to approve N23.7 trillion spent without the approval of the national assembly.
The senate resolved to suspend the request after a rowdy session on Wednesday.
Senators Betty Apiafi and Thompson Sekibo had argued that the request was not constitutional.
They also demanded that before the upper legislative chamber could approve the request, the senate must have the details of what the funds were spent on.
Last week, Buhari had written to the senate, seeking approval for the “ways and means advances”.
“The ways and means advances by the Central Bank of Nigeria to the federal government has been a funding option to the federal government to cater for short-term or emergency finance to fund delayed government-expected cash receipt of fiscal deficit,” Buhari had said.
“The ways and means, balances as at 19th December 2022 is N22.7 trillion.”
Following the rowdy session and a closed meeting that lasted for nearly an hour, Solomon Olamilekan, chairman of the finance committee, moved a motion asking his colleagues to step down the request.
Olamilekan also recommended that N1 trillion from the “ways and means advances” be used to fund the N819 billion supplementary budget already passed by the senate.
The recommendations were adopted unanimously after it was put to vote by Ahmad Lawan, senate president.
Lawan appointed Ibrahim Gobir, majority leader, to lead an ad hoc committee to liaise with the relevant ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) to get details of the aforementioned funds spent.
The committee is expected to report back on January 17.