ABUJA – By Olusegun Lawrence Some members of the House of Representatives under the aegis of Transparency Group, said they are appalled and deeply shocked to hear Speaker Yakubu Dogara, exonerating himself from the budget-padding scandal raging in the House.
The group expressed dismay that the Speaker could have the temerity to come out publicly in defence of an action that is a clear negation of federal character principles and breach of trust, saying it is “dishonorable.”
In a statement issued on Saturday, the group described the Speaker’s comments as endangering the spirit of the oneness of Nigeria.
Buttressing the claims that the Speaker actually padded the 2016 budget, the statement signed by: Bashir Baballe, Member Representing Ungogo/Minjibir Federal Constituency of Kano State;
Agunsoye Oluwarotimi Ojo, Member Representing Kosofe Federal Constituency of Lagos State;
Abubakar Chika Adamu, Member Representing Shiroro/Munya/Rafi Federal Constituency of Niger State, states thus:
“We gave the forgoing background to stress the criminal aspect of the Speaker’s action, which is against the letters and spirit of the constitution he swore to protect.
“The general public should note that Speaker Yakubu Dogara made criminal insertions (otherwise known as “budget padding”) to the tune of over N3billion to his constituency alone.
“ 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, totalling N3,079,000,000 to his constituency alone!
“ same Speaker Yakubu Dogara diverted 50 percent 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.
If the above breach of trust and infringement of the Nigerian law are not criminal acts, the “insertions” of bogus projects aimed at siphoning public funds like vague “Youth Empowerment” to the tune of N450million and “Strategic Youth Empowerment” to the tune of N500million should be.
The Speaker should explain to the general public the difference between “Youth Empowerment” and “Strategic Youth Empowerment” if it is not a fraud. Every discerning mind knows that this a riddle to hoodwink the general public against scrutinizing what is clearly a fraud.
“In the light of the above issues, members of the Transparency Group believe that any attempt to shy away from these criminalities without squarely addressing them is tantamount to legalizing corruption.
“We therefore call on our Honourable colleagues to toe the path of honour, integrity and yearnings of our constituents to avoid signing “Vote of Confidence” on the leadership of the House.
“The onus lies on the Speaker to come clean out of these allegations before we start exposing the sleaze and corruption surrounding the internal budget of the House.
“We hereby reiterate our call on Rt. Hon Yakubu Dogara to resign in order to pave way for proper investigation.