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Budget padding crisis deepens as 102 Reps want Dogara, probed, prosecuted

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The Transparency Group, a collection of members of the House of Representatives, has called for the probe and prosecution of Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and three other principal officers of the House.

They called on the agencies to probe the officers over the allegations of budget padding leveled against them.

Claiming to have secured the signatures of about 102 members of the House, the group dissociated itself from the media briefing by the chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrazak Namdas, saying the allegations had nothing to do with the entire House.

They however insisted that the Speaker, his deputy, Lasun Yusuf, Chief Whip, Ado Doguwa, and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, should all be prosecuted.

Aside Dogara and the three principal officers, the group also called on relevant 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, involved in the budgetary process, with a view to unraveling their criminal tendencies.

Read also: Budget Scam: Dogara gives Jibrin 7 days to retract or be sued

Speaking on Wednesday, the spokesman of the Transparency Group, Muhammad Musa Soba, APC-Kaduna and five other lawmakers, who said they are members of the publicity committee of the group, frowned at Speaker Dogara’s alleged lackadaisical attitude towards the earlier demand to sack Jibrin, who they accused of having overriding interest on the budget.

The group’s statement, read by Musa Soba, said in part: “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.

“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”.

By Timothy Enietan-Matthews

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