The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Human Rights Lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has called on the Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers of the House, who were alleged to have compromised the integrity of the 2016 budget, to step aside for proper investigation to be carried out into the allegations.
This is on the allegation by a former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, who was removed as the committee chairman two weeks ago, that the four principal officers requested the inclusion of N40bn projects in the 2016 budget.
Aside Dogara, other principal officers named in the budget padding saga are the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Yussuff Lasun; the Chief Whip, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor.
In an open letter dated July 29, 2016, and signed by SERAP Executive Director, Adetokunbo Mumuni to the Speaker, SERAP asked Dogara to step aside to allow investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and other agencies.
It stated, “Following confirmation received by SERAP from the EFCC that it has taken up and looking into SERAP’s petition to the body on the allegations that the leadership of the House of Representatives padded the 2016 budget to the tune of N481bn, SERAP is now writing to request you to immediately step aside from your position as the Speaker of the House of Representatives pending the outcome of the investigation.
“We also urge you to ensure that other principal officers of the House, suspected to be involved in the alleged padding, step aside from their positions to allow for the investigation by the EFCC and other agencies to go ahead unhindered.”
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said leaders of the House, who had been implicated in the budget padding scam, should step aside from their positions in order to give way for thorough investigations.
Falana had, earlier in a statement on Sunday, urged the police and the nation’s anti-graft agencies to take over the investigations into the alleged scam from the Department of State Services.
He also told one of our correspondents on the telephone that all those involved in the scam should step aside the same as Jibrin, who was also accused of padding the budget with N4bn projects for his constituency in Kano State, was removed.
“Since Jibirn has stepped down. It is logical that others, who have been implicated in the scam, to step down,” Falana said.
But the human rights lawyer, in his statement, said the DSS lacked both “the moral and legal rights” to carry out the probe.
He said the DSS had, by its recent acts, could not be trusted with such responsibility.