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Falana gives reasons why Osinbajo should not Sign 2017 Budget

A human rights activist, Mr. Femi Falana ( SAN), has advised the Acting
President Yemi Osinbajo not to sign the 2017 budget because it was
illegally increased by the National Assembly.

He also said that President Muhammadu Buhari is not competent to sign the appropriation bill into law because he is on vacation.

Falana
spoke in Ilorin, during a colloquium organised by the Movement for
Genuine Change to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of Kwara
State.

He explained that once Buhari had transmitted a letter to
the National Assembly that he was proceeding on vacation , all
presidential powers had automatically been transferred to Osinbajo who
is now the Acting President.

He stated that until the President
writes another letter to the federal parliament at the end of his
vacation, he cannot exercise the powers of his office.

Falana
said , “ The President is not competent to sign any bill into law while
he is on vacation . The constitution did not envisage that a President
who is on a vacation and an acting president, who is standing proxy for
him will be exercising presidential powers simultaneously.

“ To
that extent, pending the resumption of duties by President Buhari , the
Acting President , Prof . Osinbajo, is competent to sign all bills
validly passed by the NASS .

“ If President Buhari did
not exercise powers during his vacation even though he was in the
country , why would he want to do so while he is on medical vacation
abroad ?

“ Instead of dissipating energy over the competence of
an appropriation bill signed into law by the Acting President ,
Nigerians should subject the 2017 budget to scrutiny.

“ We are
therefore calling on the Acting President of the Federal Republic of
Nigeria , Prof . Yemi Osinbajo, who is a professor of law not to endorse
and sign the illegal appropriation bill of 2017 into law .”

Falana also explained that the National Assembly has no constitutional powers to increase the budget presented by Buhari.

He said the legislators erred constitutionally by increasing their share of the budget.

He
also said the debate over Buhari ’ s medical vacation should henceforth
centre on the urgent need for the Federal Government to equip hospitals
across the country.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria condemned any
attempt to truncate Nigeria ’ s democracy and urged Buratai to properly
investigate the coup rumour and prosecute the culprits.

He said ,
“ The enemies of democracy are desperately trying to exploit President
Buhari ’s ill health to truncate the democratic dispensation.


Notwithstanding, the glaring shortcomings of the fragile democratic
process , the people should be allowed to take advantage of the
democratic structures to take their political destiny in their own hands
. On their own part , the political class should stop playing into the
hands of potential coup plotters.

“ While the decision of the
Army chief to alert the nation of the devilish plot is appreciated, the
authorites should proceed to fish out the coup plotters and their
civilian collaborators with a view to trying them for treasonable felony
.”

The human rights activist lauded the establishment of
interest free banks, adding that those who are opposed to it should
rather establish their own interest free bank . He stated that interest-
free banks would compel commercial banks to reduce their interest rates
on borrowers.

He also lamented the abject poverty in the country
and called for better economic blueprint and management that would
boost the economy.

He urged the Federal Government to stop
releasing funds to state governments which are unable to account for the
bailout funds and London/ Paris Club loan refund made available to them
to fund the payment of salaries of workers and other developmental
projects.

He said the anti – graft agencies have a duty to
investigate and bring to book those who were alleged to have cornered
and diverted the public funds.

He called on labour unions to
ensure that the funds were fully accounted for as it was meant to
alleviate the sufferings of the working people.

An Afenifere
leader, Chief Ayo Opadokun , who also spoke on the occasion , agreed
with Falana that the National Assembly had no right to increase the
budget.

He said , “The legislature does not have the legal
authority to increase the budget because they are not the ones that will
scout the revenues that will come in and they are not the ones to
execute it. ”

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