Budget Padding Scandal 100 lawmakers disown Dogara, demand prosecution of all involved

The 100 members, it said, cuts across the six geopolitical zones of the country and from different political parties.

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Transparency Group, formed by some members of the House of Representatives says it has collected signatures from about 100 members of the House, who demand the prosecution of the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers named in the budget padding scandal.

The 100 members, the group said, cuts across the six geopolitical zones of the country and from different political parties.

The lawmakers had on Wednesday, July 27, dissociated themselves from the media briefing by the chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, saying the allegations levelled against the principal officers has nothing to do with the entire House.

The lower chamber plunged into crisis last week after the sacked former Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, spilled the beans on the alleged monumental fraud that went into the controversial 2016 budget.

He alleged that Dogara, his deputy, Yusuf Lasun; Chief Whip, Ado Doguwa, and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor illegitimately inserted projects worth billions of naira into the budget among other allegations and counter allegations.

The Transparency Group has called on 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 so as to unravel what indeed transpired in the budgetary process.

The spokesman for the group, Muhammad Musa Soba (APC-Kaduna) and five other lawmakers, who claim to be members of the publicity committee of the group, faulted the Speaker's alleged lackadaisical attitude towards the earlier demand to sack Jibrin, accusing Dogara of having overriding interest on the budget.

“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," the group said in a statement.

“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."

Dogara, however, has issued a seven-day ultimatum to Jibrin, demanding him to retract the 'libellous' allegations against him or  face legal battle.

ALSO READ: "Dogara runs Reps finance like a cult," - Jibrin reveals

In a letter to Jibrin, through his counsel, Joash Ojo Amupitan, the Speaker asked Jibrin to also tender an unreserved apology to him and other accused members of the House - but Jibrin called his bluff.

He said the Speaker should to do his worst and declared his readiness to meet him in court.

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