ABUJA— CHAIRMAN, Senate Committee on Environment and Ecology, Senator Bukola Saraki, PDP, Kwara, yesterday, said that if President Goodluck Jonathan cannot sign the 2013 budget as passed by the National Assembly into law, he should return it to the lawmakers.
The former governor of Kwara State said Nigerians who were eager to
have the budget signed and implemented were running out of time.
Saraki’s call is coming on the heels of the end of the mandatory
thirty days for the National Assembly to veto presidency over a Bill
that has been passed for presidential assent.
Answering questions from jounalists in Abuja, Senator Saraki said:
“Time is running out for the budget to be signed into law; otherwise,
the gains for passing the Budget would be lost. I don’t want to
speculate on issues with the budget. There is now urgency for the
presidency to sign the budget into law or return it to the National
Assembly for further necessary legislative action.”
On the formation of the All Progressives Congress, APC, following the
marriage of four opposition political parties, Senator Saraki who
described the merger as good for democracy and a wake up call for the
ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said it will keep the ruling party
on its toes.
He noted: “PDP should not be complacent. We need to sit up; APC is
good for our democracy; it will keep us on our toes; we must watch the
On possible threat of the proposed mega opposition party to PDP, he
said, “it is too early though to think so”, adding “I doubt if the APC
will not scatter and be uncoordinative”.
The former chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum, however, rejected
calls for local government autonomy, stressing that 70 per cent of the
LGs cannot survive on their own and that if they don’t have the states
to work with they will not survive.
On the Petroleum Industry Bill that was currently at the National
Assembly, Saraki said, “the problem with the PIB is that there are so
many things that are taken at the same time”. He regretted that although
“some of them are controversial” the kind of criticisms trailing is
He said: “The key issues which are fiscal are not being addressed.
Rather than condemn the Bill in its entirety, we should have taken
administrative and institutional framework instead of dumping it for
political reason. We want to right the wrongs that were committed in so
many decades; the damage is too much”.
The senator, however, urged that the Senate “should not keep it in
abeyance”, stressing, “we should either pass it or reject it; we will
try and pass it after wide consultations.
He said the committee on environment was doing its best and that his
committee was the first to visit pollution sites, just as he observed
that the oil companies were in the habit of pollution because, adding,
“there is no law in the land that panalises oil spills, noting that the
amendment Bill on NOSDRA currently at the Natioinal Assembly, is aimed
at redressing the situation.