By Alli Ibraheem
Members of the House of Representatives under auspices of ‘The Transparency Group’ has claimed to have gathered 102 signatures of lawmakers against the Speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and other principal of the House of are accused of participating in the padding of the 2016 budget.
Former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Hon Abdulmumin Jubrin had accused Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun Yusuf, Chief Whip, Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader of the House, Hon Leo Orgor of padding the budget by allocating N40 billion projects to themselves in the budget.
‘The Transparency Group said Dogara , Yusuf and other principal officers of the House must be probed and prosecuted, calling on the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offenses Commission (ICPC)to probe the officers.
The group said the allegations had nothing to do with the entire House but individual, saying that it has dissociated itself with the position of the chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, who said the budget padding allegation is made against the House.
It also Called on relevant security and anti-corruption agencies to probe all the parties mentioned in the scandal, including staff of Appropriations Committee and Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, involved in the budgetary process, with a view to unraveling their involvement in the allegation.
Speaking on Wednesday, the spokesman of the Transparency Group, Muhammad Musa Soba, APC-Kaduna and five other lawmakers, who said they are members of the publicity committee of the group, frowned at Speaker Dogara’s alleged lackadaisical attitude towards the earlier demand to sack Jibrin, who they accused of having overriding interest on the budget.
The group’s statement, read by Musa Soba, said in part: “We are a group of concerned members of the House of Representatives whose membership cuts across the six geopolitical zones, irrespective of party affiliation under the name “Transparency Group” that is worried about the recent media allegations and counter-allegations between Abdulmumin Jibrin and some principal officers of the House over padding of the 2016 budget.
“While we do not hold brief for Jibrin and we do not claim to be speaking for the entire House, we are of the view that Abdulrazak Namdas has no mandate of the Honourable House to speak on its behalf on the allegations made by Jibrin against some principal and presiding officers of the House (speaker and deputy speaker).
“The allegations against the officers mentioned were not allegations against the entire House but against the mentioned officers of the House in their individual capacity and as such, they can only speak for themselves through their respective spokespersons not through the spokesman of the entire House.
“Accordingly, we, hereby, dissociate ourselves from all statements made by Namdas in respect of the budget padding controversy”.
The group submitted that they would ensure that justice prevail on the budget padding scandal.