Why we’ll review the 2016 budget, by Buhari
• Kerry pledges U.S. ties with EFCC on stolen funds
• Nigeria has opportunity for growth, says Osinbajo
President Muhammadu Buhari has confirmed that he would “critically” review the 2016 Appropriation Bill recently passed by the National Assembly before assenting to it, fuelling further fears of prolonged waiting by Nigerians before the budget is passed into law.
A statement yesterday by the Special Adviser on Media to the President, Femi Adesina, quoted the president, who is attending the second Nuclear Summit of world leaders as speaking at a meeting with the United States Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry.
Buhari said that in view of the controversial alteration of the budget proposals, he needed to review the appropriation bill to be certain that its contents tallied with the authentic budget proposal presented to the National Assembly.
His words: “Some bureaucrats removed what we put in the proposal and replaced it with what they wanted. I have to look at the bill that has been passed by the National Assembly, ministry by ministry, to be sure that what has been brought back for me to sign is in line with our original submission.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that Nigerian now has a unique opportunity to become a great country with the personality of Buhari as the leader that is currently at the helm of affairs.
Osinbajo, according to a statement from his media office, made the comment while receiving yesterday at the Presidential Villa a delegation of his Law Faculty classmates with whom he attended the University of Lagos between 1975 and 1978 .
He called on Nigerians to support Buhari, “a man who is honest and whose only desire is to make Nigeria go forward and become a great nation. The president and I are determined to give a good account of ourselves and more importantly ensure that the country makes good progress.”
Expressing appreciation for the visit by his classmates, Osinbajo told them: “It is very rare that after so many years, we can still reunite. I am really honored and humbled.”
Earlier, retired Justice Chinyelu Emeka K. Anigbodu who spoke on behalf of the delegation that included former federal minister, Odein Ajumogobia, SAN, congratulated the vice president, noting that his election “is a precious gift to us.”
The president’s position in the U.S. is a confirmation yet of the concern that he appears not in a hurry to sign the passed 2016 Appropriation Bill into law, even with a pledge by lawmakers that the details of the bill would be transmitted to him in two weeks.
Declaring that his administration would continue to vigorously prosecute its war against corruption, Buhari sought and received an assurance from Kerry that the U.S. government would facilitate the repatriation of all stolen Nigeria’s funds within the American banking system.
“It will greatly help our country if you assist us to recover all our stolen funds which we can establish to be within your financial system,” the president told Kerry.
Acknowledging that the U.S. had been of great help to his administration in the retraining and re-equipping of the Nigerian Armed Forces that had resulted in the significant success already achieved against Boko Haram, Buhari said that the Federal Government was now working very hard to restore full normalcy in the troubled North Eastern states.
Responding, the Secretary of State said that he had been told that the stolen Nigeria’s funds were in “billions of dollars. It’s not easy to hide that amount of money and we are pretty good in tracing them.”
Kerry assured Buhari that relevant U.S. officials would meet with the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to discuss further cooperation in that regard.
He applauded the Buhari administration’s success for rolling back the Boko Haram insurgency, saying that the U.S. would continue to give Nigeria all possible support to ensure that the terrorist sect was finally eliminated as a threat to national and regional security.
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