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House Transparency Group slams Dogara, says Speaker must step down

Transparency Group, a group of self-proclaimed anti-corruption lawmakers, on Saturday disparaged Speaker Yakubu Dogara for allegedly playing down the unfolding budget padding scandal in the House of Representatives.
Transparency Group, a group of self-proclaimed anti-corruption lawmakers, on Saturday disparaged Speaker Yakubu Dogara for allegedly playing down the unfolding budget padding scandal in the House of Representatives.

The group also said Mr. Dogara’s must urgently resign or be forced out of office.
Mr. Dogara had on Friday, after emerging from a meeting with President Buhari, rejected calls for him to resign, saying the allegations that he supervised a massive manipulation of the 2016 budget were untrue.

Mr. Dogara also described the “budget padding” catchphrase that had gained widespread popularity in the media as an anomaly, saying as a top lawmaker and lawyer, he knew that the word had no place in legislative lexicon.

But in its statement to DAILYNEWSVIBE on Saturday, the Transparency Group said Mr. Dogara’s attempt to distance himself from the scandal that had engulfed the House for more than two weeks was “shocking, disappointing” and signified a “negation of federal character principles and breach of trust.”

The statement came two days after the APC weighed in on the scandal and issued a gag order to Abdulmumin Jibrin, the lawmaker at the centre of the allegations and a member of the party.
Mr. Jibrin had since July 21, a day after he was removed as Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation, levelled several allegations against Mr. Dogara and more than a dozen other lawmakers, saying they fraudulently padded the budget to the tune of N40 billion.

Mr. Dogara and the lawmakers vehemently denied the allegations.
The Transparency Group said Mr. Dogara allegedly fraudulent earmarked more than N3 billion for projects sited in his constituency, an action they said bordered on criminality.

“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.

“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, totalling N3,079,000,000 to his constituency alone!” the group said.

Other allegations the group made against Mr. Dogara included how he “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.”
An additional N950 million purportedly meant for empowerment schemes was also allegedly diverted by Mr. Dogara, the Transparency Group said.

The lawmakers, therefore, said Mr. Dogara should immediately step down to enable an investigation or new allegations would be unearthed to ultimately force his hands.
“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.”

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.

The three lawmakers said they released the statement “on behalf of the 206 members of Transparency Group.”
They did not provide the names of the other members of the group.

Abdulrazak Namdas, the spokesman for the House, said the lawmakers’ “claim that they have more than 200 members can never be true.”

“As people at DAILYNEWSVIBE reported yesterday, the Speaker had already said he will not resign,” Mr. Namdas said. “In any case, the House is currently in recess.”


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