Budget Padding Scandal SERAP writes Dogara, asks him to step down

SERAP said Dogara should give way for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to properly investigate the allegations of budget padding.

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Dogara and Jibrin play

Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Abdulmumin Jibrin

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Many groups and individuals have lent their voice to the call for anti-graft agencies to probe the budget padding scandal rocking the House of Representatives.

The latest among them is the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), who has called on the House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to step down.

SERAP said Dogara should give way for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to properly investigate the allegations of budget padding.

The group, in a letter to the Speaker, asked him to ensure that those mentioned in the allegation, all step down.

An excerpt of the letter obtained from Punch reads: “Following confirmation received by SERAP from the EFCC that it has taken up and looking into SERAP’s petition to the body on the allegations that the leadership of the House of Representatives padded the 2016 budget to the tune of N481 billion, SERAP is now writing to request you to immediately step aside from your position as Speaker of the House of Representatives pending the outcome of the investigation.

“We also urge you to ensure that other principal officers of the House suspected to be involved in the alleged padding step aside from their positions to allow for the investigation by the EFCC and other agencies to go ahead unhindered.

“SERAP has also reviewed several documents circulating on the internet on the alleged budget padding and we believe that these documents establish a prima-facie case of corruption, which deserves a thorough, transparent, independent and effective investigation by the EFCC and other agencies.”

“In the circumstances, SERAP calls on you to demonstrate your often-expressed commitment to transparency, accountability, constitutionalism, democratic governance and the rule of law in Nigeria by now stepping aside from your position as Speaker and to ensure that other principal officers suspected to be involved in the budget padding do the same, pending the outcome of the investigation already by the EFCC.”

“SERAP’s call is entirely consistent with the constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended). As the supreme law of the land, all organs of government including the National Assembly are obliged to perform their functions in accordance with the constitution and other enabling laws.”

READ: DSS locks appropriation committee office

The Department of State Services has reportedly locked the secretariat of the House of Representatives committee on appropriation.

According to Femi Falana, the DSS does not have any legal or moral right to probe the budget padding scandal.

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