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SAN faults Falana, asks Osinbajo to sign 2017 budget

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Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Sebastine Hon, on Monday faulted the the advice by human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN),  urging the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo not to sign the 2017 Appropriation Bill recently passed by the National Assembly.

Hon, an author of widely cited legal books, said to follow Falana’s advice and further delay the signing of the budget would be suicidal “given that we are at the threshold of the second quarter of the year.”

Falana who spoke in Ilorin on Saturday, argued that while President Muhammadu Buhari remained on vacation, Osinbajo was the one competent to sign the Appropriation Bill.

Speaking during a colloquium organised by the Movement for Genuine Change to mark the 50th anniversary of the creation of Kwara State, Falana said Nigerians should not dissipate energy on the competence of the budget signed by the Acting President but should subject the document to scrutiny.

He called on Osinbajo not to sign the budget because its estimates were allegedly increased illegally.

But faulting Falana in a statement on Monday, Hon said by virtue of combined provisions of sections 59 and 81(1) of the Constitution it was within the powers of the National Assembly to either increase or reduce the estimates contained the Appropriation Bill submitted by the executive.

Hon said, “I have read the comments credited to my learned brother of the Inner Bar, Femi Falana, SAN, asking the Acting President, Yemi Osibanjo, not to append his signature to the budget as passed by the National Assembly.

“His reason for this advice is that the National Assembly acted illegally in increasing the budgetary estimates earlier submitted by the President. I beg to disagree with Mr. Falana.

“Under section 81(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended, the President of Nigeria is obligated each year to cause budgetary estimates to be “laid” before each house of the National Assembly, and the National Assembly becomes obligated under section 59 of the Constitution to deliberate on the estimates and pass same into law as an appropriation bill.

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