Tension Hits National Assembly, As EFCC Set To ‘Arrest’ Dogara, Others 

By Joshua Amaugo July 25, 2016 12:36

Tension Hits National Assembly, As EFCC Set To ‘Arrest’ Dogara, Others 

There are strong indications that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, might invite the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Minority Leader of the House, Leo Ogor, and several others this week, for questioning, over the latest revelation that they tried to pad the 2016 budget with a whooping N40 billion.

It could be recalled, that the former Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, ‎Honourable Abdulmumuni Jibrin, who was sacked by Dogara last week, had earlier accused the Speaker, alongside some other principal officers, of plotting to pad the 2016 budget, with N40 billion.

Jibrin noted that, out of the N100 billion allocated for the 360 members constituency projects, Dogara and few others planned to pocket N40 billion.

Related:‎ $131 Million Fraud: Dogara Releases Very Damning Statement, Shuts Up Everyone

Prior to this allegation, the Presidency had severally accused the Legislature of amending processes, and removing vital contents of the 2016 budget, and allocating same to their constituency projects, which had long been their conduit pipe for defrauding the Government, allegedly.

The Speaker and Minority Leader of the House, have however, denied the allegations leveled against them. Nevertheless, Civil Society groups in Nigeria on Sunday, July 24, called on the leadership of the House of Representatives, to allow the anti-corruption agencies, commence a detailed investigation on the matter.

The groups according to news reports, comprises of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, Transition Monitoring Group, TMG, and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL.

The Executive Director of SERAP, Adetokunboh Mumuni,‎ said, Mr. Dogara should, “urgently refer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, for an effective and independent investigation, on the allegations that the leadership of the House attempted to pad this year’s budget to the tune of N40 billion, and that the member who blew the whistle was victimised for opposing immunity for principal officers.

‎”There must be full accountability for any leader, or member of the House, found to be responsible for corruption and abuse of office”.

He further noted, that due to the “seriousness and gravity of the allegations” against the principal officers, the House cannot conduct any sufficient investigation.

“Hence, the appropriate agencies charged with investigating graft and other official malfeasance, must be allowed to look into the issues”.

‎In order not to set a bad precedence, he suggested that the House should immediately pass a bill, that would further strengthen ethical conduct of Lawmakers.

Meanwhile, ‎the Chairman of TMG, ‎Ibrahim Zikirullahi, ‎said the development had exposed Nigerian Lawmakers as unprincipled people.

“‎The allegations and counter-allegations, “showed the character of men and women that we have in the Assembly, because they introduced selfish interests to delay the document that was needed to take care of the nation,” Zikirullahi said.

He however, advocated for the thorough grilling ‎of Dogara, and other principal Lawmakers named in the scandal.

“They need to be thoroughly investigated, and if possible, prosecuted,” Zikirullahi added.

Also, the Chairman of CACOL, ‎Debo Adeniran,‎ stated that the bickering among the Lawmakers, should be seen in a positive light by all Nigerians.

He said, ‎“Definitely, it is a good omen for Nigerians, when leaders of that sort begin to expose each other.

“It is only each of the two tortoises that know how to bite one another. So it is good that they are biting and exposing themselves.

‎“We know they have not been performing the functions that we sent them to perform”, he concluded.