Foremost Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana has warned President Goodluck Jonathan against delaying giving his assent to the 2013 Appropriation Bill sent to him by the National Assembly since January 14th, 2013.
Falana, in a statement on Tuesday said that signing the budget after today (Wednesday, 13 February 2013) would amount to a violation of Section 58(4) of the Constitution, which makes it mandatory for the President to assent to it within 30 days of receiving the budget.
He said, “The only option available to the President if he fails to sign the budget today is for him to request the Supreme Court to determine the extent of the powers of the National Assembly to rewrite the budget”.
Section 58(4) of the Constitution reads,
“Where the President, within thirty days after the presentation of the Bill to him, fails to signify his assent or where he withholds assent, then the bill shall again be presented to the National Assembly sitting at a joint meeting, and if passed by two-thirds majority of members of both Houses at such joint meeting, the bill shall become law and the assent of the President shall not be required.”
It would be recalled that the National Assembly sent the 2013 Appropriation Bill to the President for his assent on January 14, 2013 but following allegations of ‘padding’ of the document, he withheld his assent thereby leading to speculations that the Executive and National Assembly were on a collision course.