Dignitaries including top government officials on Friday participated in the Juma’at service at a mosque located inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja despite President Muhammadu Buhari’s absence.
Buhari had on Sunday returned to London, United Kingdom for medical consultation.
Among dignitaries that took part in the two-rakat prayer were the Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar; Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan; and Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikati Baru.
In an interview with State House correspondents, Lawan said he was at the mosque to join other faithful to pray for the President’s quick recovery, Punch reports.
He also explained that the numerous capital projects of the National Assembly were responsible for the increase of the legislature’s 2017 budget by N10bn.
He said, “You know we have so many projects in the National Assembly, and also, we are building the National Institute of Legislative Studies.
“It is one institute the National Assembly uses for capacity building and even people from outside the National Assembly come there to get some support.
“So we need to have capital projects and we ensured that we included that from the benchmark difference.
“I don’t think that is something big. You need to have a National Assembly that is really competent to produce good laws. We should have a National Assembly that is properly kitted.”
Lawan promised that the National Assembly would work with the executive arm of government to ensure strict implementation of the 2017 budget.
He insisted that the budget was not padded as widely speculated, noting that it catered for the construction of the second runway of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja and other capital projects.
Lawan also spoke on the reason behind the release of the National Assembly’s budget.
“It is to satisfy the yearnings of Nigerians who want to know what the National Assembly budget details are.
“We should be talking here about how beneficial the budget will be to economic development of this country,” he said.