Padding Controversy: Appropriation Committee members betray Jibrin, say he hijacked the budget process

Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 30 July 2016 | 3,051 times

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Members of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation have dissociated themselves from the allegations of the former chairman of the committee, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, against the Speaker and other members of the House leadership.

Addressing a press briefing at the National Assembly yesterday, the committee members alleged that Jibrin hijacked the entire process. They also stated categorically that there was no breach in the appropriation process that would warrant any external investigation.

They said: “As members of the Committee on Appropriation, we want to state categorically clear that the ousted chairman’s action does not in any way reflect the position of the committee. He has constantly allotted all the actions and decisions of the committee to himself without conferring with the members.”

The committee members stressed that Jibrin acted on his own and that they (the committee members) are standing with the Speaker because they know that the allegations made against him by their erstwhile chairman are not true.

Their words: “We, members of the Committee on Appropriation saddled with the responsibility of treating the 2016 and subsequent National Budget, are solidly in support of Mr. Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers of the House of Representatives.

“We, therefore, request that Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumin should tow the path of honour and conduct himself in a manner befitting an Honourable Member of the House of Representatives.”

Speaking on behalf of the committee, the deputy chairman, Hon Chris Azubogu, said the members noted “with total dismay and disappointment, the conduct of the former Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Jibrin Abdulmumin.”

He added: “We wish to state that we totally disassociate ourselves from all the calculated plot to pull down the integrity of the leadership and members of the 8th House of Representatives.

“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that a comprehensive collation of the reports of the budget from the various standing committees of the House was done by the Appropriation Committee which was in the process of deliberation when the ousted chairman unilaterally high-jacked the entire budget to a hideout with his consultant without the consent of the committee. That was the last time the committee saw the budget, only for Hon Jibrin Abdulmumin to resurface about three weeks later with a report purported to have come from the committee.”

Azubogu reiterated that the Speaker removed the committee chairman after members approached him with a complaint and a demand Jibrin’s removal.

Continuing, he said: “In his calm and peaceful manner, Mr. Speaker sought to resolve the matter amicably in the overall interest of the House and the nation. In his usual recalcitrant manner, Hon. Abdulmumin preferred the confrontational approach, which irked the members to request for his urgent removal from office. This request was overwhelmingly supported by the entire House.

“In response to this demand by members, Mr. Speaker has no choice than to act accordingly in order to maintain the integrity of the whole House.”

On budget padding, the committee members stated categorically that there is no offence known to law in Nigeria as budget padding.

They argued: “The entire essence of treating a budget would have been unnecessary in the first instance if the National Assembly has no powers over it.

“Note that appropriation bill is like any other executive bill and it also undergoes the same process of law making for it to become a law otherwise, there will be no need for Mr. President to present an estimate to the National Assembly for consideration.”

•Photo shows Hon. Jibrin.

Source: News Express

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