The Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, said budget padding allegations in the lower chamber impacted negatively on the integrity of the National Assembly.

The speaker said this in his remarks while welcoming members back to plenary after their eight-week recess.

A member of the house, who was removed as Chairman, Appropriations Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, made the allegations against Dogora and some principal officers of the lower chamber.

Dogara said that the scandal orchestrated by the member posed a threat to the corporate integrity and image of the house as a democratic institution.

He said, “Shortly after we adjourned for the recess, the erstwhile Chairman, Appropriations Committee, embarked on strange propaganda clearly aimed not only at the destruction of the image of some members.

“It was also a systematic destruction of the institution of the House of Representatives and indeed, the legislature, by portraying it to the public as an irredeemably corrupt institution.

“The motivation for his actions, as he has said repeatedly, is to have the four principal officers removed from their positions and not that the truth should be known.

“These wild allegations which were initially directed at four members of the House leadership progressively engulfed the entire membership of the House and then, the institution.”

Dogara said that the house leadership chose the part of maturity by maintaining great restraint, fully conscious of the fact that at the appropriate time, the truth will prevail.

He said, “I have bad news for those who think they can pull down this institution of the people.

“If history is any guide, no one, in a democracy has ever succeeded in destroying a democratic institution such as the House of Representatives.’’

While assuring that the House was fully conscious of its watchdog role, the speaker asserted that the lawmakers would not be distracted by insidious antics to confuse Nigerians.

He described the modus operandi adopted by Jibrin to address his allegations as inappropriate, saying there were constitutional avenues to address them considering the criminal nature of some of the allegations.

“It is, however, important to briefly say that nothing warrants the deliberate attempt at destructive public misinformation aimed at discrediting the house as an institution”, he added.

The speaker promised that reforms in the budgeting process would be initiated by the National Assembly to guard against abuses.

He revealed that he had directed the various committees to conduct fact-finding on the level of implementation of the 2016 budget by various Ministries Departments and Agencies.

He said, “We must take our oversight responsibilities seriously and report back to the house.

“It is the report of the committees that will determine the level of appropriation to any MDA in 2017.”


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