Budget padding: Rep accuses Jibrin of allocating N4.8bn to himself

 

A member of House of Representatives, representing Michika and Madagali Federal Constituency of Adamawa State, Adamu Kamale, has accused the former chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, of illegally allocated N4.8 billion to himself in the budget.

Kamale told journalists yesterday in Yola that members of the House, on discovering the illegal allocation, moved against Jibrin’s action and removed him as chairman of the committee for placing his interest above the national interest.

On allegation that Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three principal officers of the House padded the budget, Kamale said Jibrin did not understand the constitutional duties of the National Assembly (NASS), pointing out that various sections of the constitution empower it and state Assemblies to add or reduce the sum of money allocated to ministries and agencies in the proposed budget.

“Budget can only be said to be padded when the two chambers of the National Assembly budget office and other government agencies involved in budget preparation agree on a final copy to be presented to the President and in between, someone inserts strange figures after everything has been concluded.

“The National Assembly is not a clearing and forwarding agency, that whatever Mr. President brings, we say approve, go ahead. If that is the case, then there is no need to have National Assembly in place,” he said.

Kamale noted that Dogara’s only sin against his colleagues was his “refusal to remove Jibrin as the chairman of the committee at the time the entire lawmakers wanted him sack him.

“But people should know it is not the Speaker who removed Jibrin, but the entire lawmakers, including lawmakers from Kano.

He said Jibrin, who all the members had wanted removed since last year, would not have presided over the budget, which is attracting controversy, because he lacked the qualities to head such an important committee.

“If our Speaker had listened to us, Jibrin wouldn’t have reached December last year, because of his pedestrian and premature lifestyle.”

Kamale stated: “He has never carried any member of his committee along. There is no such rules in the House, no convention and no precedence that allows the chairman of Appropriation to have that quantum of project that he illegally allocated N4.8 billion.

“But there are precedence in the past that allowed past Speakers to have the same projects Dogara is having today. So, you can see who is actually dirty and supposed to be charged to court.

“The good thing about Jibrin is that has exposed himself to the world.”

He, however, assured that the House would cause an investigation to be conducted into what transpired when it resumes plenary.

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Kamale stated that the budget-padding saga, rather than diminish Dogara’s popularity among his colleagues, has swelled the ranks of his supporters due to his records of transparent running of the House.

“Lawmakers now backing the Speaker and ready to pass a vote of confidence on him are over 300 more than the number of lawmakers who brought him into office,” Kamale added.

He expressed concern that a lot of Nigerians have been misled about the workings of the NASS, urging them not to throw the baby with the bath water.