Tuesday, April 11, 2017 8:53 am
Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna state on Monday again demonstrated that he is not one to shy away from controversies as took up the gauntlet thrown at him by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara to make public his security votes.
Dogara had thrown the challenge at El Rufai in response to the criticism by the Governor over the lack of transparency in how the National Assembly spends its over N100 billion annual budget at a forum organised for training of National Assembly workers in Kaduna last week.
In taking up the challenge, El-Rufai not only released details of his security votes as captured in Kaduna 2017 budget, but also his salary slip for the month of February.
Samuel Aruwan, spokesperson for the Kaduna governor who made the details available in a statement issued in Kaduna also quoted the governor as challenging the national assembly to follow his footsteps by making public its budget.
According to El Rufai, the National Assembly owes Nigerians explanation not only on the appropriation of its annual budgets but also salaries of members and principal officers.
The statement reads “Our attention has been drawn to a challenge by Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives, calling on Kaduna State to make public its Security Votes and Local Government expenditure. This challenge was thrown as a response to Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s request to the National Assembly (NASS) to provide further details on the opaque N115 billion (One Hundred and Fifteen Billion Naira) 2016 NASS budget.
“Malam Nasir El-Rufai welcomes this challenge as a necessary step to improve and strengthen our democracy and would like to respond as follows: The budgets of all state governments in Nigeria are detailed out and presented at least under the headings of personnel cost, overhead and capital expenditure.
“This is unlike the budget of the National Assembly which is a single line item of over N100 billion that divulges zero information or details. NASS can at least break down its own single line budget into the hundreds of line items that are detailed in every state government budget in Nigeria. It is disingenuous to respond to every request for transparency by casting aspersions” he said.
On his security votes, El Rufai said: “As regards Kaduna State Security Votes, once again, if the Honourable Speaker had run an online search he would have discovered the details of our spending priorities on security as a State Government.
“As our Kaduna Comprehensive Security Architecture (KADCoSA) outlines, the State is directing security spending on four pillars; Justice, Technology, Community Engagement and Support to Security Agencies.
“The 2017 budget details specific amounts: N1.5bn (one and half billion naira) for the Procurement & Installation of CCTV Cameras for Monitoring and Surveillance towards Reducing Criminal Activities within the Metropolis; N193m (one hundred and ninety-three million naira) for Procurement of Geoposition Interceptor and location of GSM UMTS System to Check the Trends and intercept/locate kidnappers’ GSM calls; N265m (two hundred and sixty-five million naira) for the Procurement of Drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) to identify locations of armed bandits in our Forest Reserves across the state and the Establishment of a Forensic Laboratory to assist in determining substantial evidence in cases that otherwise proved difficult in the past.
“In addition, N2.6bn (two billion and six hundred million naira) is allocated in 2017 to support the network of federal Security Agencies in Kaduna with communications, logistics and material, ” he said. Governor El Rufai, who also made public his payslip for the month of February 2017 challenged the leadership of the national assembly to make their actual earning public.
“In February 2017, the Kaduna State Government paid the Governor a net salary of N470, 521.74, with the following details: Basic Salary N185,308.75 Hardship Allowance N370,617.50 Gross Pay N555,926.25 PAYE N85,404.51 Total Deduction N85,401.51 Net Pay N470,521.74.
He noted that though the salary may “appear puny but it reflects what the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission approved as the salary and allowances of every State Governor adjusted to reflect provision in-kind of accommodation and transportation.
“Governor Nasir El-Rufai would like to reiterate his call for the NASS leadership to do the same and disclose the details of the National Assembly budget, and the salaries and allowances of its leadership.
“The call to #OpenNASS is not a personal one. It is one which the leadership of the National Assembly owes to all Nigerians. It is, therefore, disingenuous for the Speaker to use State Government budgets as the excuse for the opacity of the NASS budget.” he added.
The Kaduna Governor also noted that in 2016, “the NASS budget for its 469 members was larger than the capital budget of Kaduna State, with close to 10 million inhabitants. It is also larger than the entire budget of several Nigerian States. Indeed, over the past ten years from 2008, the NASS as an institution has cost the country over a trillion naira without any detail on how this amount was allocated and spent.” he added.
According to him, the Kaduna State government will continue to remain transparent and open in all its finances in accordance with its promise to the people and the philosophy of the ruling All Progressives Congress and President Muhammadu Buhari.
Newspaper reports indicated that the two leaders of the National Assembly, Dogara and Senate President Bukola Saraki have indicated that they will rise up to the Governor’s challenge. Nigerians are waiting.