Thursday, October 26, 2017 11:50 pm
President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday evening met with Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara over the proposed presentation of the 2018 Budget to the National Assembly.
The meeting came after disagreement over security checks frustrated a planned dinner of a larger number of lawmakers with the President.
Reports indicated that a bus conveying Saraki, Dogara and some principal officers of the National Assembly back at the Pilot gate of Aso Rock presidential villa after security operatives insisted that all the lawmakers must come down and be subjected to checks before they will be allowed to enter the building to see the President.
The 20 lawmakers in the bus were said to have insisted on not subjecting themselves to personal screening.
The lawmakers’ vehicle turned back and went to the residence of the Senate President when the lawmakers stood their ground on the security checks.
But it was gathered that this was followed by frantic efforts to get the lawmakers back to the Villa, while the President’s Chief security officer and other Presidency officials were said to have visited the Senate President to apologise. Thus, only Saraki and later, the Speaker of the House were available to join the President for the dinner after the lawmakers were convinced to come back to the villa for the dinner.
But by this time, most of the principal officers had left the Senate President’s house. Others at the dinner with the President include Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (House of Representatives), Sumaila Kawu.
In a statement issued after the dinner, Femi Adesina, spokesperson for the President said the dinner with the leadership has been shifted to next Tuesday as a result of the security mix up.
Adesina said, “President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday, October 31, 2017, host the leadership of the National Assembly to dinner at the Presidential Villa.
“At a private dinner with the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, at the State House, President Buhari said the dinner, earlier arranged for Thursday, October 26, will now hold on Tuesday.
“The new date is occasioned by a security mix up that attended the earlier scheduled meeting.
“Thursday’s dinner meeting was attended by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Chief of Staff to the President, Mallam Abba Kyari, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate), Sen. Ita Enang and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (House of Representatives), Sumaila Kawu.