Former Senate President, David Mark, has denied recent media reports insinuating that the affairs of the National Assembly under him were shrouded in secrecy and he was also responsible for the astronomical rise in the annual budget of the legislature.
Mark, who stated this in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by his Media Assistant, Mr Paul Mumeh, described the insinuation as being born out of deliberate mischief, blackmail or outright ignorance.
According to him, parliamentary practices and procedures dictate that all issues are carried out in the open and so there is no secrecy with regards to the affairs of the National Assembly.
Mark cautioned against reducing critical national matters to politics, and stressed that people should not play politics with serious national issues like appropriations.
He said: “How can anyone claim that the National Assembly budget is secret, or that our earnings are secret? The National Assembly budget is part and parcel of the Federal budget. It is not a separate document. If anybody is in doubt, he or she should get a copy of the National budget and clarify.
“It is a public document, unless you are saying you have never seen the National budget. It is sad and ridiculous when people give impression that the National Assembly Budget has continued to be increased annually.This is not correct. It is unwarranted and needless accusation,” he said.
Mark, a five-time Senator representing Benue South and two-term Senate President, noted that the National Assembly under his leadership was bold, courageous, steadfast and truly patriotic.
He said that the National Assembly under his leadership in 2008 was the first arm of government to return its N7 billion unspent fund to the national treasury.
This, he said, was a mark of responsibility and because he “stood on the side of the people, the truth, and transparency and above all in the interest of the nation.’’