A controversy concerning the Lagos-Calabar Coastal railway project is threatening to ignite a new battle between the executive and legislative arms of the government over the 2016 Appropriation Bill. It was reported that the federal government did not initially include the project in the budget proposals.
The Minister for Budget and Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, is reported to have said that the government included the project in the amended budget and passed it to the Standing Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The Senate Committee on Land Transportation is headed by Gbenga Ashafa from Ogun State while Senator Danjuma Goje heads the Committee on Appropriations.
Mr Goje was said to have been lukewarm towards the rail project, asking instead to meet Amaechi privately at home. It was not clear if he eventually met with Amaechi.
The House Chairman on Appropriations, Jibrin Abdulmunin also told news men emphatically that the federal government did not include Lagos-Calabar rail in 2016 budget, and that he found himself saddled with handling the final outcome of the budget appropriations after the standing committees handed their recommendations to him.
He asserted that neither the Goje-led Senate Appropriations Committee nor Senator Ashafa’s Committee on Land Transportation sent any recommendations to his committee to include the Lagos-Calabar rail in the budget.
In tweets in response to claims by members of the federal executive that National Assembly deliberately removed the project from the budget, Jibrin stated that they found N54b floating in the Ministry of Transportation budget and decided to allocate it to Lagos-Kano rail, an airport security project, and the rest given to the Baro Inland Port project in Niger state.