When officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, stormed the residence of a former deputy governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore in Maitama, Abuja to effect his arrest penultimate Sunday, they never anticipated that it would yield the discovery of documents that would raise fresh concerns about the budget of the National Assembly.
The EFCC operatives, who went to arrest Omisore over N1.310bn he and three companies received from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) under Sambo Dasuki, ended up stumbling on some documents during a search of the former senator’s residence that indicated a N60billion financial scandal in the budget of the Senate in the 6th National Assembly (2007-2011).
Omisore, who represented Osun East under the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation at that time.
The document showed how N60bn was voted for extraneous overhead expenses for some senators and members of the House of Representatives in the 6th National Assembly.
Of the sum, the former Osun deputy governor was reportedly paid N2.5 billion by the National Assembly’s management for undisclosed reasons.
It was learnt that the EFCC has formally written the management of the National Assembly on the discovery.
It would be recalled that the budget of the National Assembly, which has often elicited condemnation from Nigerians, has over the years been shrouded in secrecy.
The budget that covers the salaries and allowances of the 109 Senators, the 360 House of Representatives members, their aides as well as the budget of the National Assembly Commission, National Institute for Legislative Studies (NILS) and the Public Complaints Commission (PCC), started skyrocketing in 2003 when it was jerked up from N23.347bn to N32.229bn in 2004 and reached an all-time high of N154.2billion in 2010.
Since 2010, the budget of the National Assembly remained at N150bn for four years until last year when it was slashed to N120bn and this year N115bn, amid dwindling revenue.
The latest discovery by the EFCC may help shed more light on the astronomical rise of the budget of the National Assembly.