Palpable tension seems to have griped President Muhammadu Buhari following the controversy trailing the alleged missing 2016 budget, as he summoned an emergency Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, with only 19 out of 36 Ministers in attendance and the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, arriving late.
Reliable sources close to the villa told Post-Nigeria that the emergency FEC meeting is connected to the alleged missing 2016 budget.
“Remember Buhari hardly calls for FEC meetings, but this emergency meeting has something to do with the missing budget,” a source said.
“Nigerians are disappointed that Buhari could present such an outrageous budget while allocating several billions to the presidency in the face of glaring economic crunch.” He added.
Buhari is said to have arrived the Council Chamber at about 9:50am with his Aide-de-Camp for the meeting slated for 10:00am, but met only 19 ministers out of the 36 ministers when he got to the meeting venue.
Although, it is still not clear why 17 ministers refused to attend the emergency FEC meeting, but insiders at the presidential villa have hinted that the missing 2016 budget may have necessitated the meeting.
However, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has gone on to describe the report of the missing budget as “an incredible and award winning April fool stunt.”
Dogara made this known via his twitter handle, confirming that the budget was not missing, but locked down in custody of the Clerk to the House of Representatives.
Earlier, the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume, during a closed door session on Tuesday 12th January, 2016 told legislators that the copy of the 2016 budget had been smuggled out of the National Assembly.
“The hard copy of the budget document has been smuggled out of the National Assembly”, Ndume was reported to have said.
The lawmakers had maintained that the intelligence they had so far gathered suggested that the presidency discreetly withdrew the documents to enable it make some adjustments.
The senators said the presidency had in the past two weeks been combing through the budgets with a view to removing provisions that had so far exposed the administration to ridicule.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said only Buhari could withdraw the budget, but had not done so.
He suggested that the issue of missing budgets should not arise because several copies of the document were sent to the legislature.
When contacted, the Minister of State for National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, expressed shock at reports of the missing budget.
Meanwhile, the Senate during Wednesday 13th January’s Plenary expressed shock at the disappearance of the Budget and consequently set up a committee to search for the missing budget.