I don’t have security votes, says El-Rufai

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The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir el-Rufai has said there is no security vote appropriated to him in the state’s budget.

On Tuesday, Abdulrazak Namdas, spokesman of the house of representatives, said what El-Rufai published was the security budget of Kaduna and not his security votes.

But in a statement on Thursday, Samuel Aruwan, spokesman for the governor, said the state’s budget specified what was voted to security agencies and nothing was given to the governor.

He said the Kaduna’s security funding is not operated like the national assembly where everything is “opaque”.

Aruwan said if the leadership of the national assembly have security votes they should disclose what is allocated to them.

“The Kaduna state government has presented details of its security budget. What was presented represents the only security vote for the entire government,” he said.

“As the figures show, there is no security vote for the governor of Kaduna state. This may be a shock to those used to the notion of security votes as barely disguised slush funds, but we do not operate such a system in Kaduna.

“Our budgets specify what is voted as assistance to security agencies, and its expenditure is properly recorded and accounted for. These are not monies given to or spent by the governor.

“If the leaders of the NASS have security votes allocated to or personally collected by them, they might wish to disclose such. Our security spending does not operate like the NASS system of sharing public funds in such an opaque fashion that even NASS members do not know how their entire budget is broken down or what the leadership gets as its ‘running costs’.

“The figures in the pay slips presented for the Honourable Speaker are in stark contrast to the declaration by The Economist regarding the earnings of NASS members. One of the claims cannot be right.”

He said the demand of the budget of the national assembly to be public would not go away.

“However, notwithstanding the intemperate response of the spokesman of the house of representatives, the demand that the NASS budget be made public will not go away,” he further said.

“It is not personal, and there is a strong civic constituency that is demanding it. The sooner all of us in public life recognized that the game has changed and that segments of civil society and indeed everyday citizens of Nigeria are much more aware, astute and advanced than the state of our politics, the better for our democratic health.”

The governor’s spokesman said the people who leaked his memo to President Muhammadu Buhari should be blamed and should not be brought into the matter.

“The NASS leadership has been promising ad infinitum to publish the breakdown of the opaque, one-line budget. It should simply do so. Prompt release of the 2015 and 2016 breakdowns, along with the proposed figures for 2017, would be a good way to start,” it read.

“As things stand today, even if Mallam Nasir El-Rufai refrains from further commentary on this matter, the genie is already out of the bottle. The public will not accept a secretive NASS, or any other branch of government for that matter.”

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