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25% Overhead: Reps Make U-Turn On Sanusi

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ABUJA, Dec 02, (THEWILL) - The House of Representatives today backed down on its earlier resolution to engage the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi during their plenary to explain how he got the figures that the National Assembly’s overhead make up 25 percent of the country’s budget. The House instead constituted a joint committee to investigate Sanusi over his recent perceived controversial comment. However, spokesman for the House, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh has said the lower House did not shy away but rather defended the decision saying the committee would do a better and thorough job. The joint committee is made up of the committees on Banking and Currency, Finance, Appropriation, Ethics and Privileges, Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes. The committees are to jointly investigate the matter and report back to the House next Thursday. At the today’s sitting of the House, the Deputy Speaker, Honourable Usman Nafada, who presided, had recognised the House Leader, Tunde Akogun to move the motion that would admit the CBN governor into the chambers. Akogun was half way into his motion when, Honourable Igo Aguma (PDP, Rivers State) raised a point of order urging the House to allow its committees to handle the matter and proceed to treat more important national issues at plenary. “There are more important national issues contained in our Order Paper of the day. I believe that at the committee level, the House Committees on Finance, Appropriations, Banking and Currency, Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crime will do a more thorough job on the matter. I therefore move that this matter be committed to the committee for more thorough job.” The motion was seconded by Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (PDP, Abia State) following which the House adopted it. Although Sanusi was waiting in the Office of the Clerk of House, his officials had taken their seats at the public gallery of the House carrying bags of documents meant to be presented to the House by the CBN boss. When reporters accosted Sanusi on his way out of the National Assembly, he said: “It will be disrespectful to the House for me to speak on a matter that is being referred to a Committee. So can you please wait until I appear before the committee on Monday and then you will hear? I cannot speak to the press on a matter before a committee.” Briefing the House press corps after the sitting, spokesman for the House, Eseme Eyiboh said the decision to shift the investigation of Sanusi’s comments to the committee was taken after due consultation amongst members. He explained that the general consensus amongst members was that taking on the CBN Governor in the plenary would not give the House details about the budget. According to him, the invitation of the governor was not meant to bring anybody down but to shed light on aspects of the budget, which are of concern to the House adding that “it is part of the oversight responsibility of the House.” “The House is not in anyway wanting to suppress public information. We are going to be transparent about it and the matter would be transmitted live for Nigerians to see,” Eseme assured.