The House of Representatives is facing serious cash crunch, its spokesman Benjamin Kalu said at the weekend.
He said the problem of funding is hampering the implementation of its programmes and slowing down its activities, including several investigations pending before it.
Besides, the budget of the lower chamber of the National Assembly has not increased in the last 10 years, despite increases in the cost of living across board, he said.
Despite the development, Kalu assured the nation that the leadership of the House would manage available funds judiciously and give Nigerians effective legislation.
Addressing reporters at the weekend in Abuja, he said: “Your observation about the financial problems of the committees, if any, is in order. The impression out there is not true. The House of Representatives is struggling with funds because the
activities of the House are bigger than the budget. This is the fact. Many are not aware of this because they don’t understand the workings of the institution.
Kalu called for more funding of the legislature to perform better, saying: “How would you have known, if the House of Representatives were useless and not carrying out their oversight functions? A motion was raised and in the wisdom of the leadership, they set up a committee. Look at what they are discovering there.
On the House’s observation of a 15-minute tea break during plenaries and complaints from Nigerians on this development, Kalu said: “Medically speaking, you have been advised not to sit down in one place for too long because it is unhealthy to do so. It affects blood circulation and the people here are not young people.
“In the wisdom of the House, they give 15 minutes to stretch their legs and for our Muslim brothers to have their prayers. This is a secular country and we must do everything possible to accommodate the different religions. The policy of the House is to make sure everybody is accommodated.
“When they stand up to go and pray, it becomes rowdy. So, we say let us programme it to allow them have their prayer, have tea and come back. I don’t think it is a bad decision; it is a healthy one…”