THE heat keeps increasing on the Honourable Speaker of the Federal House of Representative of the Nigeria, Yakubu Dogara, over alleged padding of 2016 budget in the house.
After series of revelations made by the former Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Honourable Abdulmumin Jubrin, to the security operatives, public and media houses, a group of 206 member of the house, under the umbrella of “Transparency Group,” have asked the Speaker to bow out instead of unnecessary defence he put up against the obvious allegations.
In a statement released signed by Agunsoye Oluwarotimi Ojo of Lagos State; Bashir Baballe of Kano State and Abubakar Chika Adamu of Niger State, on Saturday, Transparency Group said that “Mr. Dogara had the temerity to come out publicly in defence of an action that is a clear negation of federal character principles and breach of trust “both disappointing and dishonourable.”
The group also alleged that “The Speaker’s comments also endanger the spirit of the oneness of Nigeria,” also “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 N3 billion to his constituency alone.”
Transparency Group is which more than half of the 306 member of the lower house of the federal legislative arm accused the Speaker of inserting about 200 per cent of both the three senatorial and 12 federal constituencies in his state for his own constituent, said: “While the entire Zonal Intervention for the three Senatorial Districts of Bauchi State and 12 Federal Constituencies in the state amounts to N1,666,666,666, the Speaker criminally inserted about 200 per cent of the amount, totalling N3,079,000,000, to his constituency alone!”
They also accused Mr. Dogara of allocating N4.8billion out of N9.3 billion in capital projects for Bauchi to his constituency, noting that the sum represented 50 per cent of the capital budget for the state.
The Transparency Group wrote: “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 N450 million, and ‘Strategic Youth Empowerment,’ to the tune of N500 million, should be.”
The group challenged the Speaker to “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 is a riddle to hoodwink the general public against scrutinizing what is clearly a fraud.”
The group, which opined that if such allegations are swept under the carpet, they might encourage ‘legalizing corruption,’ urged fellow members of the House “to toe the path of honour, integrity and yearnings of their constituents to avoid signing a ‘Vote of Confidence’ on the leadership of the House.”