**Says parliament was not consulted on proposed spending
President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki yesterday, blamed lack of consultation with the legislature for the controversy trailing the $1billion the Federal Government recently approved for the purchase of equipment to combat insecurity in the country.
Saraki, who disclosed this at the 2018 retreat of the Senate Press Corps held in Jos, Plateau State, said many Senators were angry not because they do not support the counter-terrorism war but for the fact that the National Assembly was not consulted on the issue.
President Muhammadu Buhari last week, approved the expenditure after a crucial meeting he had with the Minister of Defence, Col. Mansur Dan Ali (rtd) and the service chiefs during which they reviewed the security situation in the North East as well as rising wave of insecurity in other parts of Nigeria.
In the wake of that announcement, a number of lawmakers from both chambers of the National Assembly expressed outrage at the attempt to expend such a huge amount of money without consultation and prior approval of the parliament.
The Senate President, whose remarks centred on “Strengthening Executive/Legislature Relations,” said that though the presidential system of government is built on the principle of separation of powers and occasional envisaged conflicts, it also reserved a room for consultation among the three arms of government.
He acknowledged the resurgence of violent attacks on communities and abduction of Nigerians by Boko Haram terrorists and other armed groups and admitted that there was the need to equip the security forces to enhance their capacity to do their jobs. He, however, added that such a remedial action involving expending public fund cannot be undertaken by the executive alone but in consultation with the parliament.
He warned that the security architecture of the country cannot perform optimally unless there were a strong synergy and cooperation between the executive and legislature, stressing that anything outside this cooperation would be counter-productive.
Saraki argued that the relationship between the two arms of government goes beyond party affiliations as the mere fact that the party in power is the same as the party with majority seats in the National Assembly was not a guarantee that the executive will not take the parliament into confidence in taking crucial decisions and ensure mutual respect.
“Even during the last administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, when PDP was in charge of both the executive and legislature, there were some frictions.
It means it is not about the party. It is not about any individual. It is about the system. “In a situation where a particular arm of government stands up and calls people from another arm of government thieves, looters and other names, how can we work together?
How? It is not possible. It is not realistic. If we collaborate, the country will be better for it,” he said. (New Telegraph)