20016Budget Padding: Transparency Group Emerges in the House, Demands Investigation of Dogara, Lasun, Jibrin, Others, by Anti-graft Agencies
The crisis rocking the House of Representatives over the padding of 2016 Budget assumed a different dimension on Wednesday as lawmakers from the House of Representatives, operating under the aegis of 'Transparency Group,' called on anti-graft agencies to investigate the House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, his deputy, Yusuf Lasun, the former appropriations chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin, and some other principal officers of the House over the alleged padding.
The spokesperson for the group, Hon Musa Soba, claimed the group already has in its possession the signatures of no fewer that 113 lawmakers across the six geo-political zones collected before the House went on Sallah break.
He noted that as at the time of collecting the signatures the group had wanted to compel Dogara to explain some noticed discrepancies in the 2016 Budget.
The Transparency Group maintained that those named in the House leadership as having tampered with the 2016 Budget as well as Jibrin should be investigated by the anti-graft agencies.
"We call for an external investigation into the matter with the view of finding out if our principal officers are guilty or not. For this group, we say the budget was padded and as such, the budget being a document that belongs to all Nigerians, it is no longer an internal affair (of the House)", Soba said.
Distancing the members of the group from the submissions made by the House Committee on Media and Publicity, Hon Abdulrazak Namdas, that the decision to remove Jibrin for padding the budget to the sum of N250bn was jointly taken by the House Leadership and members, Soba said the views expressed by Namdas do not represent the stance of the Transparency Group.
He said it was necessary to inform Nigerians that Namdas "wasn't speaking on behalf of the entire house" and that the members of the group have distanced themselves urging the four principal officers as well as the former appropriations committee chairman to defend themselves individually, adding that, the entire house was not on trial or being accused.
Jibrin had only last week, alleged that the Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa and Ogor padded the 2016 budget with N284 billion using 10 of the 96 Standing Committees in the House.
But responding to the heinous allegations, Chairman of the House Committee on Media, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas on Tuesday said that Jibrin was relieved of his position as Chairman of appropriations alleging that he padded the budget with N250 billion adding that he abused his office by regularly blackmailing heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for "pecuniary" reasons.