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Budget padding: Gbajabiamila submits self to police for investigation



The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, said on Friday that he had submitted himself to the police authorities in Abuja to investigate any role he was alleged to have played in ‘padding’ the 2016 budget.

He said he demanded that his role in the saga should be thoroughly investigated by the police.

Gbajabiamila explained that he took the decision because there had been insinuations that though his name was not mentioned by the former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, in his budget-padding allegations against four principal officers, he (Gbajabiamila) could not have been exonerated.

The principal officers accused by Jibrin were the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara; Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun; Chief Whip, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor.

Gbajabiamila, who confirmed that the decision to sack Jibrin was collectively taken by the leadership of the House, also admitted that he attended a principal officers’ meeting on Thursday, where all the officers signed a joint statement to disown Jibrin. However, he said he gave a condition before signing the statement that he would want his alleged role in the budget padding to be investigated.

He said going to the police was important to him against the backdrop of reports that he was among those sponsoring Jibrin.

In a statement on Friday, Gbajabiamila said he had called the Speaker a day before his return from a three-week break to the United States that there should be an urgent meeting address the several allegations made by Jibrin, and that at the meeting, the principal officers stated their innocence.

“A prepared text was read and we all agreed to sign. The decision to relieve Hon. Jibrin was indeed a collective decision, which I was a part of. I told them I would submit myself, on my own volition, to the police for investigation to clear my name,” the statement partly read.

Meanwhile, Jibrin has dismissed the decision of the Body of Principal Officers of the House to disown him. In a statement on Friday, Jibrin alleged that the six other principal officers he did not list in his allegations were coerced by the four to support them in order to cover up the alleged “corrupt” acts.

He stated, “I heard on good authority that contrary to what was brandished in the media as resolution of the meeting, the whole session was an extension of the grand disgraceful plan by Speaker Dogara and the three other principal officers to coerce the other members of the body of Principal Officers to come out in their defense since the speaker and the three others know very well that they are on their way to jail.

“They just want to drag as many people as possible into the matter to use it as a shield or create a situation that will compel me to implicate the six other principal officers or other people both in National Assembly and the executive arm.

“They are obviously looking for co-travellers. You can see the pattern of systematic blackmail desperately trying to drag in the Executive and the Senate. I am just too strong for them. They need more forces to fight Hon. Jibrin.”

Jibrin, who repeated his allegations, noted that till date, there had been no adequate responses by the four principal officers.

He also claimed that there were no allegations against him other than saying that he had been sacked for abusing the budget process.