The National Assembly has denied rumours making rounds that the 2016 budget has disappeared from its premises.
News had gone viral on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 that the document presented to the Assembly last year had gone missing, a reason the Senate could not continue with its plenary session.
The meeting between the Senate president, Bukola Saraki and President Muhammadu Buhari after the widespread news also triggered the initial speculation, while the former Kwara state governor refused to make any comment on the reason for the about 30-minute discussion at the Presidential Villa.
But the National Assembly has now assured that both chambers are planning to making copies of the money Bill available for the 109 senators and 360 members of the House, adding that they are determined to pass the bill as soon as possible.
According to Leadership, the chairman of the Senate committee on media and publicity, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, laughed off the speculations that the budget was missing, while noting emphatically that the contents of the 2016 budget were carefully drafted to enhance and drive the change agenda of the present administration.
“There is no such thing; it is laughable for anybody to insinuate that the 2016 budget is missing; it is the figment of the imagination of those carrying such rumour.
“We, as a Senate, are presently concentrating on making copies of the budget available to every senator. We are getting ready to commence deliberations on the budget and we are enthusiastic and looking forward to a quick passage so that the president would commence implementation in such a way that the electorate would begin to reap the dividends and benefits of democracy.
“So it is not true that the budget is missing; it is a rumour. We deal with facts here and the fact is that no budget is missing,” he was quoted to have said.
The leadership of the lower chamber of the Assembly also denied story of 2016 budget theft from the National Assembly, saying that original copy of the Appropriation Bill as presented to NASS was intact and with the management of the Assembly.
Abdulrazak Namdas, who spoke on behalf of the House, told Leadership through his deputy, Jonathan Gaza Gbefwi, that the rumour of budget theft or missing was unthinkable.
He said: “The budget is intact and, in fact, they even plan to begin to distribute copies to members tomorrow (today) to begin to analyse; so wherever that (rumour) is coming from, I don’t know. So, it’s all a lie.”
Nigerians, in their usual manner, have since reacted to the shocking news of the missing budget with the hashtag #WhoStoleOur2016Budget, which rocked the social media for the better part of Tuesday evening.