Yesterday, former Head of State Gen. Yakubu Gowon called for “PROSECUTION” for anyone found guilty of the padding.
Over 113 House of Representatives members yesterday joined the fray, calling for “an external investigation with a view to finding out if our principal officers are guilty or not”.
Former Appropriations Committee chairman Abdulmumin Jibrin, accused Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuff Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor of appropriating to themselves N40 billion of the N100 billion meant for the 360-member House.
The Speaker House of Representatives ask Jibrin to withdraw the allegation against him.He threatened to sue for defamation, if Jibrin failed to withdraw the claim.
Abdulmumin Jibrin vowed not to retract the claim, daring Dogara to go to court.113 representatives known as Transparency Group distanced themselves from Dogara and Jibrin, they asked Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa and Ogor to respond to the allegations against them as individuals.
Musa Soba (APC, Kaduna) insist that it was wrong for the Chairman, Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas to have claimed that the House was behind the Speaker on the issue.
The Transparency Group joined by Abubakar Chika (APC, Niger), Baballe Bashir (APC, Kano), Bala Ikora (APC, Kaduna) and Lawal Yahaha (APC,Bauchi), they had earlier complained about Dogara’s indifference attitude to its earlier demand at plenary to remove Jibrin who it accused of been self centre on the budget and why shielding Jibrin before now.
Soba insist that 113 signatures were collected from lawmakers from the six geopolitical zones and across party lines before the last Sallah break with the aim of asking Speaker to explain the discrepancies in the budget.
The Transparency Group spokesman Musa Soba, call for an external investigation into the matter with a view of finding out if our principal officers are guilty or not. For this group, because is a document that belongs to all Nigerians, it is no longer an internal affair. Let those at the centre of the controversy answer to all the allegations made against them individually and collectively in line with legal practice and our criminal justice system.
We are of the view that Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas has no mandate of the Honourable House to speak on its behalf on the allegations made by Hon. Jibrin against some principal officers and presiding officers of the House (Speaker and Deputy speaker.The allegations is not against the entire House but against the mentioned officers of the House in their individual capacity.
THE 2016 budget padding is not new because we have at different times raised this issue to alert Nigerians on the move by our presiding officers and some principal officers of the House to insert unnecessary and illegal projects into the Appropriation Bill with a view to taking advantage of their respective positions against the collective national interests.
Accordly to transparency Group spokesman Musa Soba, We condemn the 2016 budget padding and consider it as an
of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) as it relates to chapter 2 under the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy.“It is also an abuse of legislative ethics and privileges by the very individuals that are supposed to be the custodians of the laws of the land.
In a letter from In a letter written by Dogara lawyer,
Dogara claimed that Jibrin defamed him with his allegation.
The letter reads: “By the said publication and without putting to the public any shred of evidence, our client is portrayed as a criminal, corrupt, dishonest, fraudulent, dishonourable and unfit to hold the position of Speaker of House of Representatives.
“Our client’s reputation has further been brought down in the estimation of right thinking members of the society and he has been thrown into public opprobrium, odium, scorn and ridicule. Consequently, we consider your publication on the matter as not only libellous but made in bad faith; an act of vendetta owing to your recent removal as the Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation. The said publication is also aimed at causing disaffection between Nigerians and members of the House of Representatives
“Sequel to the above, we have to request you to submit immediately to us a clear and unqualified apology and retraction of the publication in an equally conspicuous position in all the print and electronic media where the publication appeared.
“Take notice that in the event of your failure/refusal to comply with the above mentioned demands within seven (7) days of your receipt of this letter, we have further instructions to institute a suit against you in a court of law. If we have to pursue this course, we shall be claiming aggravated and exemplary damages”.
Jibrin’s Twitter handle reads:
“Speaker Dogara has threatened legal action against me. Quite predicable. I know he will rush to court in order to invoke the House rules that matters in court cannot be heard on the floor. He failed to realise that the law is not intended to protect corrupt people. It is such a shame. I have responded to their allegations rather than respond to mine,he is rushing to court. I stand by my allegations and I will not withdraw them!
“I am happy to announce that my lawyers have officially approached the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) towards working out a date for me to personally submit my petition against Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority Leader Ogor
Once a date is fixed by anti-corruption agencies we would have begun the process of making these characters pay for abusing their office”.