SHOULD President Goodluck Jonathan stop the monthly allocations to Governors Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe) and Kashim Shettima (Borno), states where emergency rule was declared, and give the money to security agents?
This question was the crux of the disagreement between the Senate and the House of Representatives on Thursday.
To the lower chamber of the National Assembly, the President has no such powers.
While the Senate wants the president to be allowed to administer the states’ allocations for their security needs, the House is insisting that the governors should be given access to the funds.
The lower chamber had last Tuesday urged its Senate counterpart to concur and adopt its new resolution which stops Jonathan from administering the fund.
Ibrahim El-Sudi (PDP, Taraba) who moved the Motion had pointed out that the declaration was constitutional, based on Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution but argued that there are limitations to presidential powers on it.
The Reps’ position came after the joint conference committee of both chambers which gave harmonisation to the joint resolution.
The Reps argued that Section 3 (e) of the Transmitted Emergency Powers (General) Regulations 2013 which ‘Provides for the utilisation of any funds of any State or Local Government in the Emergency area’ was unanimously rejected and deleted by the House but retained by the Conference Committee of both chambers.
But a new twist was introduced to the development yesterday when House spokesperson, Zakari Mohammed, said his colleagues acted in good faith.
Mohammed was reacting to comment of the Senate’s spokesperson, Enyinnaya Abaribe, who claimed the House erred by taking a U-Turn, deleting relevant sections of the report after initially concurring all decisions at the joint conference.
He noted that the House acted within the armbit of the law since the so-called report of the conference committee is inferior to the 1999 Constitution.
While acknowledging that the House made a mistake but later corrected it, he said: “If there are mistakes, as a House, we should be able to own up. The 1999 Constitution is superior to any conference report”
But supporting the need to make funds available to the three governors, he added: “If you say a governor should sit and funds not made available to him, what do you expect him to do?
“Concerning my colleague in the Senate (Abaribe), we have a way we reach out to ourselves and I believe that his response will change in weeks ahead,” he noted.