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Padding is criminal insertion, you must resign, Reps tells Dogara

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House of Representatives members under the aegis of Transparency Group say padding is criminal insertion, demanding that Yakubu Dogara must step down or be disgraced.

The group on Saturday criticised Dogara, who is the House of Representatives Speaker, for apparently making light the issue of the much talk about budget padding scandal in the Lower Chamber.

The group’s position came after Dogara had on Friday, rejected calls for him to resign, claiming that the allegations that he supervised a massive manipulation of the 2016 budget were untrue.

Speaker Dogara had told journalists after emerging from a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, that as a top lawmaker, he understands no word as ‘budget padding’ in legislative lexicon.

In angry response, the Transparency Group, said in the statement on Saturday that the Speaker’s act of trying to absolve himself of any wrong doing from the scandal the House of Representatives has had to contend with in recent times, was embarrassing, shocking and negate federal character principles and breach of trust.

The statement was signed by Bashir Baballe, member representing Ungogo/Minjibir Federal Constituency of Kano state; Agunsoye Oluwarotimi Ojo, member representing Kosofe Federal Constituency of Lagos state; and Abubakar Chika Adamu, member representing Shiroro/Munya/Rafi Federal Constituency of Niger state.

Read also: Dogara meets Buhari secretly, says budget padding not an offence

The group called on Nigerians to note that “Speaker Dogara made criminal insertions, which has been reported in media as ‘budget padding’, to the tune of over N3 billion to his constituency alone.

“While the entire Zonal Intervention for the three (3) Senatorial Districts of Bauchi State and 12 Federal Constituencies in the state amounts to N1,666,666,666, the Speaker criminally inserted about 200 percent of the amount, totaling N3,079,000,000 to his constituency alone!” the group added.

Also contained in the statement were allegations that Dogara diverted 50 per cent of the total capital projects allocated to Bauchi state to the tune of N4,781,003,431 out of N9,231,289,842 allocated to the state to his constituency.

“An additional N950 million purportedly meant for empowerment schemes was also allegedly diverted by Mr. Dogara.

“We hereby reiterate our call on Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara to resign before we start exposing the sleaze and corruption surrounding the internal budget of the House.”

According to the lawmakers, Transparency Group has 206 lawmakers as its members.

By Ebere Ndukwu …

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