Members of the National Assembly are set for a showdown with the Presidency, especially Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, the Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sustainable Development Goals over the 2020 Budget.
This followed a sudden rise in the Budget of the SDGs to N73 billion from N40 billion.
There are fears the budget for the Office of the Orelope-Adefulire had been padded along the line, PRNigeria is reporting.
PRNigeria said the Office of the SSA on SDGs had proposed a N40 billion budget for the year 2020.
Surprisingly in the budget submitted to the National Assembly, additional N33 billion was curiously added, making the votes for the SDGs to balloon to N73 billion.
Rather than defending her SDGs budget while appearing before the National Assembly and without providing any document on the list of projects to be executed, Orelope-Adefulire, was quoted to have simply said: “This was how it came from the Presidency.”
A top Presidency source told PRNigeria that the Presidency is worried over the disturbing scandal as members of the relevant Committees in the House of Representatives and Senate have demanded for an explanation over the “bizarre padding” of the SDG office’s allocation.
Already, the two chambers of the National Assembly have directed the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, to withhold allocations of the Office of the SDGs until the 2020 Budget details, including the suspicious N33 billion, are provided with convincing facts.
Meanwhile, The Nation has reported that federal legislators are worried about the development when one of them said: “It was this strange inclusion (N33 billion) that made us to demand the details of the budget of the SDGs.
“We have received allegations of duplication of projects since 2018.
“But it has been a ding-dong game between the Office of the SDGs and the Senate and House committees.
“We want the Executive to pay more attention to this N33 billion.
“We want to know how it came about.
“Faced with the timeline for the passage of the Appropriation Bill, we reached an agreement with her to pass the budget and get the breakdown later.
“Surprisingly, she has been evading the two committees.
“There are text messages she sent which we can show as evidence.”
However, PRNigeria gathered that there are fears in some quarters that powerful forces in the Presidency and the National Assembly may not be oblivious as to how the SDGs allocation was jerked.
They are of the opinion that the SDGs budget was “padded” by government officials who may want to enrich themselves through the backdoor.