The two principal characters in the ‘padding’ of budget saga, Chairmen of the Senate and House of Representatives Committees on Appropriations, Danjuma Goje and Abdulmumin Jibrin, have fired back at their critics.
They distanced themselves of any complicity in the distortion of 2016 budget details, which is against public perception that they built into the budget projects meant to favour their constituencies.
They stated their innonce in a statement they jointly signed, Sunday.
The budget has since been returned to the National Assembly by the executive for correction.
The statement said, “Following the transmission of the 2016 Appropriation Bill and details passed by the National Assembly, there have been all manner of misinformation, misrepresentations and innuendos about the roles played by the Joint Committees on Appropriation in the course of passing the budget.
“Even though most of the allegations, especially those specifically levelled against the two of us, as chairmen of the committee, are unfounded, we intend to respond to them at the appropriate time. For now, what we consider important is to resolve the impasse around the budget and get it assented to so that its implementation can begin in the interest of all Nigerians.
“However, we must put it on record that the details aggregated and transmitted to the executive are largely the inputs we received from the standing committees of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
“Given the foregoing, and all factors considered, we hereby state that we have had enough controversy over the 2016 budget.
“What is needful right now is a resolution of the differences and to that end, we call on our colleagues in the National Assembly to accede to the request by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari to have a second look at the details and make the necessary adjustments so that he can assent. This, in our opinion, should not go beyond this week.
“To the extent that there are already ongoing consultations, a debate about who is right or wrong is unhelpful in the circumstance; and in any case, does not advance the cause of our country men and women whose interest we have been elected to serve.
“Nevertheless, we must commend President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki, Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the entire members of the National Assembly, members of the federal executive council, the minister of budget and the budget team for their cooperation even as we assure all Nigerians that we will do everything to protect and defend their interest, at all times,” the statement said.