Members of the House of Reps Committee on Appropriation said yesterday that there was no breach whatsoever in the 2016 budget process that would warrant the probe of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy Yussuf Suleimon Lasun, chief whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa and minority leader, Leo Ogor. Addressing a press conference yesterday in Abuja, deputy chairman of the committee, Rep Chris Emeka Azubogu (PDP, Anambra), who was accompanied by eight other members of the committee, said the allegations levelled against the quartet by the former chairman of the committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, were all lies.
A new group in the House known as ‘Transparency Group’ comprising of over 100 members, had on Wednesday called for an external probe into the matter and that anybody found wanting should be punished. But the appropriation committee members insisted that there was no need for that.
Jibrin had following his sack last week alleged that Dogara and the other three leaders tried to force him to insert projects worth N40 billion for them in the budget, among other weighty allegations.
However, the lawmakers said they were dismayed and disappointed by Jibrin’s conduct and allegations since his removal, saying he was the one who perpetrated all the irregularities in the budget. They also alleged that Jibrin “hijacked” the budget process and single-handedly ran away from them only to return after weeks with a report on the budget. “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.”
They said following Jibrin’s action of “hijacking” the budget, they approached the Speaker with complaints and demanded the former chairman’s sack.
While calling on Jibrin to tow the path of honour and conduct himself in a manner befitting of a lawmaker, the legislators said they were “solidly in support of Mr Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers of the House of Reps.”