Budget padding: APC gags Dogara, others

Posted by News Express | 3 August 2016 | 2,818 times

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A panel set up by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to intervene in the ongoing budget padding scandal at the House of Representative, has commenced investigation into the allegation with a view to brokering peace among the parties involved, even as the party directed warring lawmakers to put a stop to their media war.

Hon. Abdumumini Jibrin, the sacked Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, was reportedly summoned by the committee to wade into the rift between him and Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his Deputy, Hon Yusuf Lasun and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor.

Arriving the national secretariat yesterday in Abuja at about 2.00pm, Jibrin, who was decked in white guinea brocade with cap to match, entered the party’s secretariat in company of a team of lawyers and aides, at about 2: 05 pm in a black Land Cruiser with registration number BWA 768 AM.

Leader of the panel and National Deputy Chairman (North), Senator Shuaibu Lawal, however, confirmed that his committee had met with Speaker Dogara separately before meeting Jibrin.

Other party leaders on the panel were the APC National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni, National Treasurer, Bala Muhammed Gwagwarwa, and National Vice Chair, Inuwa Abdulkadir among others.

Speaking after a closed-door meeting that lasted more than three hours, Lawal said his committee was not done with the consultations.

Lawal explained: “We are discussing with them and it is an ongoing consultation, we are not done with them, we sat with the speaker, we just finished sitting with him and we would continue to sit with him.

“It’s in respect of what is going on in the House of Representatives which you people know more than all of us, but I was asking him to come and brief the party. Honestly speaking, we never thought it would be covered by the media.

“I summoned him, the national secretary of the party and the national vice chairman of his zone and we sat down to discuss. There is nothing like passing any judgment on any member of the party, we only play our role as the umpire in this matter to see how we can create some atmosphere of peace and unity among our members.

“But when certain things go on, of course, the party needs to call its members to know how best to unite feuding members and that is exactly what we did.

“What we did actually was that we heard from him. We have heard earlier from the speaker but because it was not in the newspapers, like you just went and published, nobody knew we held a meeting with the speaker.

“I want to say what we discussed honestly speaking was to get a better brief because we have to be carried along. They are our members; we should know from them directly what is really going on so that we can see how we can handle the situation without necessarily making it a town square dance.”

Before he was asked not to talk to press any longer, Hon. Jubrin, who was eager to talk more, however, said “I’m here on the invitation of our great party, the APC we discussed extensively on the crisis in the House of Representatives, we will continue to discuss and engage ourselves, I will continue to honour the invitation of our party and I am sure that whatever it is we decide you will know in the due course.”

But Jibrin had earlier said he would appear before his party’s disciplinary panel after being summoned on Monday over the unfolding budget padding scandal.

The lawmaker, who represents Kano in the House, had been locked in media and political battle with the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, and other lawmakers he accused of manipulating the 2016 budget.

In the summoning letter signed by Lawan, which was exclusively obtained and published by Premium Times Monday night, the APC said the writ became necessary after Jibrin ‘frustrated’ all efforts to reach him by telephone or text messages.

He, however denied ignoring party leaders’ attempts to reach him, even as he said the committee was of a disciplinary nature.

“The letter did not in any way indicate it is a disciplinary committee,” he said.

For two weeks running, Jibrin has placed the House on the defensive after he was removed as chair of the Appropriation Committee on allegations of betrayal of trust, a charge he had repeatedly declined.

•Excerpted from Blueprint. Photo shows Speaker Dogara.

Source: News Express

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