Reps ban armed security details during budget defence

By Gift Chapi Odekina

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila on Thursday announced the disbandment of security details with arms who accompany their principals during budget defence at the National Assembly.

The Speaker made the announcement during the presentation of the 2021 budget estimate by President Muhammadu Buhari at the National Assembly in Abuja.

According to him, this is because the House intends to adhere to the Covid-19 social distancing protocols,need to be able to limit the numbers of people in hearing rooms at any point in time.

“Let me also use this opportunity to announce a new prototocol in the house , henceforth, all Ministries, Departments and Agencies who come to defend their budget proposals, will do so without their security details present.

“We must take this course of action to prevent the unacceptable proliferation of sidearms in the hearing rooms during such engagements.w

Speaking on the efforts made by legislatures in ensuring that the country return back to January-Decemner budget circle, he said ” Senators and members of the House of Representatives toiled night and day, sometimes through the night and into the wee hours of the morning, to ensure that we achieved our commitment to return to the January to December budget cycle as envisaged by the constitution.

“Ido not doubt that we will exhibit the same commitment to nation-building and deliver a good budget on time. We cannot afford a return to the old practices, and we must do everything in our power to avoid such an outcome.

“We also promised to pass a budget that reflected our priorities – healthcare, education, public infrastructure and the development of an economy that is less dependent on fossil fuels and gives to all Nigerians, the ability to achieve their dreams equal to their effort and commitment.

“We kept that promise too. We recognise that more needs to be done, and I assure all the Nigerian people that we will continue in this regard.

Speaking on the effect of the Covid- 19 on the country, Gbajabiamila said that the country has learnt in a hard way, adding that as a nation lessons learnt must be reflected in the budget.

“The world changes quickly, often without notice, and always with consequences. We have learned this lesson at a high cost in the past few months, and we must ensure that the lessons learned are reflected in the budget that emerges from the appropriations process. We must make sure that we are better prepared for next time because there will be the next time.

“The reality of globalisation and the connected interdependence of nations means that there will always be something on the horizon that threatens to destabilise our world. Let us move forward in this certainty and make sure that we are prepared for the future, whatever it may bring,” he said.

Expressing gratitude to the Executive Arm for their commitment and hard work, Gbajabiamila assured that the proposal will receive thorough and speedy consideration.

He added that the National Assembly will collaborate with the Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Executive to deliver a budget that meets the needs and matches the ambitions of the Nigerian people.

“We will hold ourselves in the Legislature to the highest standards of integrity so that our deliberations and contributions to this process are motivated only by considerations of the best interests of the Nigerian people”, he said.

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