Nigerian government attacks opposition APC lawmakers for blocking 2014 budget

Maku said the APC was “threatening the life wire of the country.”

The Federal Government on Wednesday chided the opposition for insisting on frustrating the passage of the 2014 Appropriation Bill currently before the National Assembly.

The government’s position was stated by the Information Minister, Labaran Maku, after the weekly meeting of the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC. The meeting was presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Fielding questions from State House Correspondents after the meeting, Mr. Maku said since the budget was the lifeline of Nigeria’s economy, any attempt at stalling its passage would amount to frustrating the economic progress of the nation.

The APC had asked its lawmakers to frustrate the passage of the budget and other executive bills until the federal government resolves the crisis in Rivers State where the state governor and several citizens have complained of harassment and abuses by the federally controlled Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu.

Attempt to begin debate on the budget was frustrated by an APC lawmaker in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, who argued that the budget was not properly presented.

“When you block the budget of a country, you are stopping the work of the market woman, you are stopping the work of the farmer, you are threatening the survival of the teacher in the street, you are threatening the survival of a patient in the hospital because a lot of what happens to these people depends on the budget,” Mr. Maku said.

The minister, who disclosed that the FEC reviewed reports of the Ministries of Agriculture and Health, said it “was shocking to hear of such development from the opposition party at a time when the international community has rated the Nigerian economy very high.”

“So I’m shocked that anybody will go to the National Assembly and urge people to block the budget of a country.

“I am shocked that this is coming at a period where we are making economic gains, where the economy is growing at seven per cent; where consistently for three years the world has said the Nigerian economy is the best managed in Africa, in a period policies that we lamented in the past are now being transformed in for opportunities for investments; in a period where we have been able to move from net importer to a net exporter in cement.

“At the time when we didn’t have telephones, but we now have telephone in every village in this country; where power became an issue but now power is an opportunity for investment because new policies have been unfolded to give opportunity to grow the economy; in a period where agriculture was to buy a few tractors and do fertilizers scams; where you now have Agriculture as a policy transforming farmers into business people and supporting them.

“Democracy is about service to the people and I am surprised because everybody knows that once you are elected you are no longer serving your party members,” he said.

Mr. Maku urged Nigerians to support the federal government; saying when the economy grows, it will be to the benefit of all Nigerians.

“Now this kind of situation means that all our hands must be on deck to grow the economy. If we grow the economy further it does not belong to Goodluck Jonathan, is for the people of Nigeria,” he said.

The minister advised politicians to “separate narrow, negative partisan politics from the survival of our people. So we believe that every budget needs to be robustly debated by the National Assembly but not on the standpoint that my party asked me to stop passing the budget.”

He questioned the APC’s stance, saying “Nigerians must hold them to account. They are not yet in power they are already threatening the life wire of the country, so how can we then trust them with power?”

Mr. Maku kept mum on the basis of the APC’s directive, the crisis in Rivers that has seen a senator reportedly shot and hundreds of people dispersed with arms by the police for allegedly declaring their support for the state governor.

“So if tomorrow they come to power what are we to expect? It means the nation will not have budget? This is very serious, no argument is acceptable for anybody to go and ask people to block a budget. So these arguments pale into insignificance when you look at the real danger that that kind of call places on the life wire of Nigeria.

“Challenging our policies is different from blocking the oxygen from flowing because the budget is the oxygen of the economy. So you are asking people to commit suicide because you have disagreement with the government? So I think this is not the right thing to do and I am urging APC leaders to think again,” he said.


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  • hp

    Is FG begging APC

  • Mani_Kay

    THEY MUST GO NOW

    I have said it and would continue to say it ……. the Yorubas and the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani are not Nigerians. No right thinking Nigerian will think of blocking the passage of the National Budget.

    They are aliens and strangers brought into Nigeria by the British.

    The Yorubas are from Dahomey while the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani are from Timbuktu in present day Mali. I am aware that a few of the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani are from Tambuwaal village deep inside Niger Republic while the rest came from Kwankwaso Province in Chad. They are not Nigerians.

    Their unprovoked attempt to block the passage of the National Budget is the last straw. We Nigerians can no longer tolerate them in our country.

    The Nigeria they claimed to have belonged to expired on December 31, 2013 and so their stay in present day Nigeria has also expired. They must go back to where they came from and they must go now.

    However, a few of them that has shown genuine support for the Federal Government may be allowed to stay if they apply but they will be issued with Resident Permits as appropriate. The rest must go and they must go now.

    Let me make it very clear ……. immediately after the National Conference, the Yoruba and the Northern Muslim Hausa-Fulani will no longer be allowed to vote in Nigeria. Enough is enough.

    • ABB

      …and where is the ancestral home of Mani_Kay?

      • Tunji Olarewaju

        In the jungle called biafra

    • Naijagogoodagain

      You are providing all the comedy we need!!!!!

    • Sabo Maccido

      Fully supported you Mr. Mani…… all Hausa Fulain and Yorubas including me must leave now!!!!!

  • Baba tee

    I strongly agreed with APC decision to halt the passage of the budget, until certain wrong’s were corrected after all the budget stuff has never affected the populace in the past because of large corrupt practice of the government. There is so much poverty and gross unemployed people, part of the corruption we’re talking about NNPC billions of dollars unaccounted for, is so sad? Half of the budget will be looted .

    • redeem

      Often don’t understand the way some government officials reason these days-if APC wants to frustrate the passage of the budget with a view to bringing down the government of Jonathan, why not let them do it-now? The Nigerian society would surely end up blaming them-in the long run–no need to plead with them–let the APC agents go ahead–I saw a lawmaker from the Fulani north, argue foolishly that it was wrong for money to be voted to take care of projects in the Niger Delta-where the bulk of the nations wealth comes from–instead he wanted more money to be voted for our security agencies–the same Fulanis who question why government should spend trillions to fight boko haram-The republicans tried to bring the Obama government down–instead, their evil acts helped to shore up the profile of the first black president of the USA-what does an illiterate like tinubu know about governance? When the Fashola government voted over 77b to take care of his office alone-Over 90 percent of those in APC are not even Nigerians–some arrived here from Freetown-Ghana, Niger Republic, Sudan Senegal and Chad-So why should such economic migrants have the milk of human kindness in them? animals

  • precious

    i support APC they must not give them the chance until they answer we the poor student of the Nigerian polytechnics. We have been on strike for the past four months now, and those fools did not even bother to look into it. Now they are calling on us to go and fight for them so they can steal more money for election campaigning. Its now their turn let them feel what the poor are feeling in this God forsaking country called Nigerian.

  • Amina

    They have every right to do it.Leadership have been getting away with so many things.How many percent of budget was implement in 2012,2013.some people will have to defend the masses.President will send his budget ,national assembly will pass it nd president will not implement them.is that not too sad a country.

  • shadow

    This guy should be shot,he talks too much rubbish, what a stupid man

  • Afam

    APC should stop this hypocrisy,there is no different between their alleged impunity committed by GEJ and passage of Rivers State budget under 10 minutes..No amount of impunity that is bigger than that..Rubbish