The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has said that it was illegal for the National Assembly to introduce projects into the budget proposal submitted by the President.

The senior advocate said while the legislative arm of government had the right to adjust figures and make amendments to the budget, it lacked the power to introduce new projects.

He also argued that the National Assembly was trying to usurp the powers of the executive arm of government hence the penchant of the lawmakers for executing projects.

Sagay added, “Yes, the National Assembly has the power to deduct funds from certain projects. But what they don’t have power to do is to introduce projects into the budget. It is an executive budget. It is an anomaly. Nigeria is the only country in the world that legislators introduce projects. It is never done. It is unconstitutional in the extreme.

“It is a pity that the executive has been blackmailed to swallow this bitter pill. The functions of the executive are being taken over by the legislature because they are afraid that if they protest, the National Assembly will not approve the budget. It is pure blackmail.

“The National Assembly members contest elections as lawmakers but when elected, they suddenly want to become part of the executive which is very sad. Constituency projects are part of it and it is illegal.”

When asked why the executive arm of government had never approached the Supreme Court to determine if the legislative had the power to introduce projects into the budget, Sagay said the executive had succumbed to blackmail.

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