Budget Padding Scandal: External Forces At Work – Gombe Reps

Gombe Reps CaucusThe Gombe State Caucus in the House of Representatives yesterday accused some external forces of creating an atmosphere of chaos in the lower legislative chamber.

The caucus, which addressed a press conference in Abuja on the budget padding allegation leveled against Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy, Lassun Yussuf and other principal officers by the former House Appropriation Committee Chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin, said it would not be part of any group that would cause instability in the House.

The lawmakers that signed the press statement were Reps Ali Isa, Aishatu Jibrin Dukku, Ustaz Yunusa Ahmad Abubakar, Binta Bello, Ismaila Muazu Hassan and Yaya Bauchi Tongo.

Bello was, however, absent at the briefing.

“Most definitely, the House has enjoyed considerable peace and stability under the able leadership of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, but it seems some persons, both within and outside the House, are bent on scuttling this atmosphere of peace engendered by our amiable Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara.

“We of the Gombe State caucus of the House of Representatives wish to categorically and publicly declare that we are not part of any evil group trying to cause disaffection and instability in the House of Representatives, and we in like manner, dissociate ourselves from any conspiracy and attack against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the entire leadership of the House”.

While describing Jibrin’s allegations as “wild goose chase”, the lawmakers said they were “appalled and shocked that Hon Jibrin only came out with this accusation just after the House has duly sacked him as appropriation Committee Chairman over the offence of unlawfully inflating the budget in his own favour!”

According to the caucus, soon after President Muhammadu Buhari presented the 2016 budget estimates to the National Assembly last December, the former appropriation committee chair wrote all members, requesting them to send details of projects they wanted captured in their constituencies, which all lawmakers complied with.

“But we are now shocked and surprised that Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin is now using these same letters to blackmail the House as guilty of padding the Federal Budget! What a shame”, they added.

“The world, particularly Nigerians, must be told that the figures being reeled out by Hon. Jibrin as his basis of blackmail against the leadership of the House were actually suggested by him.

“As a matter of fact, the Appropriation Committee under the leadership of Hon. Jibrin initiated the allocation formula with which the constituency projects of Honourable Members were inserted into the 2016 budget.

“By reason of their leadership position, the Appropriation Committee conceded significant provisions to the principal officers of the House, but we are even shocked that Hon. Jibrin who is not a principal officer, allocated provisions to his Constituency far beyond what the principal officers he is accusing got. So what is Hon. Jibrin’s point in this shameless dance of absurdity?” the Gombe caucus queried.

But Jibrin, in his reaction, described the Gombe lawmakers’ action as a show of shame,” and that they only “succeeded in only rehashing the accusation of lies leveled against me by Speaker Dogara”.