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SERAP Urges Akpabio, Abbas To Reduce Nigerian Parliament’s Budget

The group also asked the senate to publish the details of the National Assembly budget.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas to “promptly reduce the National Assembly budget of N344.85 billion, to reflect the current economic realities in the country, and cut the cost of governance.”

This was contained in SERAP’s letter to the leadership of the National Assembly dated January 13, 2024. The letter was signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

SERAP in the letter urged the National Assembly officers to request President Bola Tinubu to present a fresh supplementary appropriation bill, which reflects the reduced National Assembly budget for the approval of the National Assembly.

SERAP also urged them to promptly publish details of the National Assembly budget of N344.85 billion, including the proposed spending details of the N3 billion for the Senate Car Park and N3 billion budgeted for the House of Representatives Car Park.

The organisation said: “Passing appropriation bills that are inconsistent with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution is a fundamental breach of the constitutional oath of office by the lawmakers.

“The arbitrary increase by the lawmakers of their own budgetary allocation if not cut would have significant fiscal consequences and exacerbate the country’s debt crisis.

 “The unilateral and self-serving increase by the lawmakers of their own allocation also offends the principles of separation of powers and checks and balances and the notion of the rule of law.

“The increase in the National Assembly budget has raised serious questions in the minds of the Nigerian people about how the lawmakers are spending their commonwealth.”

It noted that the National Assembly ought to be more responsible to the public interest and more responsive to it.

The National Assembly, it said, has a constitutional responsibility to combat waste and abuse in its own spending if it is to effectively exercise its oversight functions and hold the government to account.

“Transparency and accountability in public administration is an essential element of democracy. Transparency in the spending of the National Assembly budget would give the public a tool to hold the lawmakers accountable. It would also protect Nigerians from any potential abuses of governmental or legislative power that may exist.

“Nigerians have a right to scrutinise how their lawmakers spend their tax money and the commonwealth, especially given the precarious economic realities in the country and the impact of the removal of fuel subsidy on vulnerable Nigerians.

“Cutting the N344.48 billion National Assembly budget would be entirely consistent with your constitutional oath of office, and the letter and spirit of the Nigerian Constitution.

“Cutting your budget would promote efficient, honest, and legal spending of public money. It would serve the public interest and restore public confidence in the National Assembly,” it added.

Chuks Okocha


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