Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has assured Nigerians that the $1 billion slated to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account (ECA) to tackle the insurgency in the North-east would not be spent without the input of the National Assembly.
Despite his assurance, the Senate Thursday postponed the debate on the issue due to the absence of Senator Samuel Anyanwu who had notified the Senate on Wednesday of his intention to sponsor a motion on the $1 billion.
In line with legislative practice, motions are placed on notice and taken on the next business day, except when the rules are waived.
Although the issue was not listed on the order paper Thursday, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu reminded his colleagues about the motion.
â€œSenator Anyanwu came up with the issue of $1 billion approved by the Nigerian Governorsâ€™ Forum for the fight against the insurgency.
â€œUnder our rules, this matter is to come up today for our consideration. I have looked through the order paper and it is not there, I just want to seek an explanation,â€ Ekweremadu said.
Responding, Saraki said Anyanwu had sought for more time, adding that the matter would be taken on the next legislative day.
â€œAs you can see he is not here, so we stepped it down. The next legislative day, when we resume, it will be the first item on the order paper.
â€œWe cannot take it when the person is not here and it is a very important motion that needs to be delivered very well. It cannot be delegated. We would take it. I assure you that we would take it,â€ Saraki said.
â€œOur party (All Progressives Congress) does not do things like that. We would not spend money that does not follow due process. I am assuring you that the money would not be spent until we come back and debate it.
â€œLeader (Senator Ahmed Lawan), I hope you heard the commitment I made on behalf of all of us,â€ Saraki added.
The Senate also announced the adjournment of all budget defence sessions to January 9 as it embarks on its Christmas/New Year recess.
Plenary would, however, resume on January 16.
Making the announcement, Saraki said: â€œLet me clarify that we are adjourning until 9th of January to come back for committee work but plenary is suspended until 16th. We will come and resume on the 9th of January so we can finish this budget.â€