A member of Transparency Group, a pressure group in the House of Representatives on Thursday said the lower legislative chamber has been engaged in the padding of Nigeria’s budget since 2011.
Rep. Lawal Gumau, who was speaking on Sunrise Daily said “since 2011 when I came, there was no year when there was no padding.
He also noted that it (padding) has been going on before the 7th Assembly as members of the 6th Assembly had warned them that it will happen and “we started fighting it since then.
“After the budget is prepared from the committees, it goes to the Appropriation Committee and they will work on the budget and return it to the members in the chamber for everybody to see, read and agree on it. Padding does not come in up till that point.
“Immediately after the House has passed the budget, before they submit it to the President is when the padding”, he said, maintaining that “the members will not know that after they passed the budget, something (additional line projects) was inserted.
These assertions, according to him, were made without the consent of the House.
Rep Gumau, however, made it clear that he is neither in support of either Speaker Yakubu Dogara or Rep. Abdulmumini Jibrin but he is in support of the allegations made against the leadership of the House.
He said what his group wants is for the allegations made by Rep. Jibrin to be investigated by the appropriate authorities.
“What is the Attorney General of the Federation doing”, he wondered, adding that “is he not the law officer? If there is a petition, can’t he investigate or give an order for an investigation to be carried out?
“We have EFCC, we have ICPC; we have the Nigeria Police. What are they doing that they cannot investigate? What we are saying is that the House open this issue for an investigation”, he said, insisting that the internal mechanism of the House be jettisoned.
He said the anti-graft agencies will not be interfering with the business of the House because they will be doing so after “a petition” and “not that they will come on their own”.
He likened the situation to the trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, over alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rules, insisting that “it is the same thing with padding, if the investigation takes place and it is convincingly explained to everybody in Nigeria that there was no padding, then we will rest our case”, he maintained.