BY OBUTE JAMES
President Muhammadu Buhari today (Wednesday) presented the 2019 budget proposal to the joint session of Nigerian National Assembly amidst protests and shout of “Sai Baba.”
Buhari was expected to arrive the National Assembly complex by 11am but because of reported plan by some legislators to protest, his arrival was delayed.
Buhari entered the chamber around 12;40 pm to present the last national budget proposal to the 8th National Assembly. He made the presentation (statement) and eventually laid the budget proposal at about 1:55pm.
However, the protesting lawmakers were determined to disrupt the budget presentation with the shout of “Freedom come by struggle, by struggle, freedom come, by struggle, by struggle.” While the pro- Buhari were also saying “Sai Baba, sai Baba.”
The situation was brought under control by the leadership of the National Assembly. This enabled Buhari to make his speech. But shortly after the president finished with his speech, the joint session of the National Assembly became very rowdy with some lawmakers raising up placards while singing “Freedom come by struggle, by struggle, freedom come, by struggle, by struggle.” Others were also saying “Sai Baba, sai Baba.”
The efforts of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to persuade their colleagues to maintain decorum did not yield any positive result as the shouting continued which brought the session to abrupt end without the usual vote of thanks and national anthem.
President Buhari proposed a budget of N8.83 trillion for 2019. Recurrent N4.04 trillion,
Debt service, N2.14 trillion, Statutory transfer, N492.36 billion, Sinking fund, N120 billion and Capital expenditure – N2.031 trillion.
Buhari said he will sept up a high powered technical committee on minimum wage with the view of addressing the challenges that may arise as a result of wage increase.