The National Assembly Joint Committee on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has again invited the Chairman of the commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to give further clarifications on the 2019 General Elections Budget.
The Chairman of the Senate committee on INEC, Sen. Suleiman Nazif, made this known to newsmen today after the joint committee meeting.
He said Yakubu was expected to be at the meeting by 11.00am on Friday.
He said the joint committee, having met to harmonise their reports, following Yakubu’s visit to both chambers on Wednesday, came to a conclusion that more clarifications needed to be made on the budget.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), we invited the chairman of INEC, who addressed the senate and House of Representatives and we met today to harmonise what transpired yesterday between both chambers.
“The meeting was convened consequent upon the letter of President Muhammadu Buhari, requesting for supplementary and virement for the 2019 general elections.
“We have done what we needed to do and we have realised there are differences.
“In view of that, we decided to invite the chairman of INEC for further clarifications tomorrow at 11 O’clock and from there we will issue a statement to inform Nigerians of our position,” Nazif said.
He assured Nigerians that the joint committee would endeavour to make sure that the elections did not suffer any setback as a result of the president’s request to the National Assembly.
He said: “We want to use this opportunity to assure Nigerians that the committee is committed to ensuring effective, credible, free and fair elections in 2019.”
The lawmaker commended his colleagues for cutting short their holiday to meet and consider the president’s letter in effort to ensure the success of the elections.
The committee had on Monday queried the commission for presenting a budgetary proposal that was at variance with the one presented by the president for the polls.
The INEC chairman had presented a proposal of N189 million to the Senate Committee on INEC
President Muhammadu Buhari had however requested the Senate’s approval of N242.45 billion to commence preparations for 2019 general elections.
Part of the funds, according to the President’s request, will also be given to the Department of State Service and other security agencies for the same purpose.
The request was contained in a letter addressed to President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, dated July 11 and personally signed by Buhari.
Buhari requested that out of the needed figure, N164.10 billion should be provided through virement or supplementation of 2018 Budget.
It also requested that the balance of N78.34 billion, mostly related to personnel allowances, fuelling and other costs not required until election proper, be provided for in the 2019 budget.
The sum of N189.21 billion was earmarked for INEC, N4.3 billion for Office of the Security Adviser, N12.21 billion for DSS and N3.6 billion for Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The Nigeria Police Force got a proposal of N30.5 billion while N2.6 billion was earmarked for Nigeria Immigration Service.
Specifically, the president requested that N164.10 billion of total funds proposed for the elections should be funded from the N578.31 billion inserted in the 2018 Budget by the National Assembly.