Budget Padding Is A ‘Misrepresentation Of Facts’ – Deputy Speaker

Yusuf Lasun, Reps, Budget Padding, 2016 Budget, House of RepresentativesThe Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Lasun Yusuf, has described as misrepresentation of facts, the widespread allegations of padding of the 2016 budget.

He said that contrary to rumours being peddled around the country, there was no section of the appropriation bill that was padded.

The lawmaker explained that the legislature had in exercise of the power conferred on it by the constitution, reallocated figure in the budget estimates as presented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

He made the disclosure while delivering a lecture at the 17th edition of the media parliament of Kwara State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Mr Yusuf spoke on the ‘Challenges of Law-making and the Delivery of Dividend of Democracy in Nigeria’ during the gathering at the Abubakar Olusola Saraki Pen House in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.

He explained that it was the exclusive preserve of the legislative arm to rework annual fiscal document tabled before it by the executive, stating that such document remains “an estimate and not real budget”.

The former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin, who had blown the lid that some principal officers of the lower chamber of the National Assembly partook in the budget padding scam, was suspended from office.

His allegation had ignited public outrage against the National Assembly while the House maintained that the budget was not padded as alleged.

Abdulmumin Jibrin, House, Budget padding
Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin

Budget Padding Debacle

The Deputy Speaker, however, told the gathering in Ilorin that the allegations against the leadership of the House by the suspended lawmaker were of no effect and could not be substantiated, insisting that the House acted within its powers.

He stated that the House was empowered to reallocate and reconcile figures in the budget estimates that were believed not to be properly done.

Honourable Yusuf decried that many Nigerians were ignorant of the works of the legislative arm and were fond of passing verdict without verifiable facts on some allegations levelled against the lawmakers.

He explained further that it was the primary responsibility of the law-making body to scrutinise budget estimates submitted by the executive arm, adding that members could use the avenue to address pressing needs of their people.

“While the executive makes proposals on projects, programmes and expenditure for every year, the legislature finally approves figures that are spent.

“In the process, the legislature often interfaces with the executive to have certain projects and programmes form part of (the) budget.

“This is necessary as I have said earlier because the closeness of the legislator to the constituents must have emerged from that environment.

“It is critical that certain pressing areas requiring government attention are suggested and included in the estimates.

“Unfortunately, the poor understanding of the fine details of legislative practice anchored on the express provision of the constitution erroneously informed the so-called budget padding debacle which was a distraction to the polity.

“For instance, the case of 50-year-old Ojutu Bridge in my constituency that has great potentials in turning around the lives of my constituents,” Yusuf said.

Jibrin’s Suspension: Judge’s Absence Stalls Suit Against House

House of Representatives, Abdulmumuni Jibrin, Budget Padding, JudgeThe budget padding controversy in the House of Representatives seems to be far from ending soon, as the absence of the judge presiding over a case against the House stalled the sitting of the court.

Judge Idris Koko of the Federal High Court in Kano State had fixed ruling on the suit filed by residents of the Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency for Tuesday, December 20, but he did not show up.

The residents are challenging the authenticity of Speaker Yakubu Dogara the leadership of the House to suspend their representative, Abdulmumin Jibrin, from the National Assembly.

Representative Jibrin was suspended after he publicly accused Speaker Dogara and some other principal officers of the House of manipulating figures in the 2016 budget, an issue that led to his suspension from the House.

He described his suspension for 180 sitting days by the House as ‘completely inconsequential’, noting that the process that led to the decision of the House was a complete waste of time.

 

The lead counsel for Kofa constituency, Bashir Muqaddam, told reporters at the court premises on Tuesday that Justice Koko had gone for the Judges’ Conference holding in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

He noted that after returning from the conference, the judges would proceed for the Christmas and New Year vacations, adding that they are expected to resume on January 19, 2017.

Whistle Blowing Role

While the case had been fixed for January 18, 2017 for mentioning, the lawyer stated some of their requests in the suit.

“Our prayer seeks that the sum of two billion Naira be given to our client, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin Kofa, as payment for damages to his reputation.

“When we resume on January 18, 2017, the case will come up for mentioning.

“We want to know whether his whistle blowing role in exposing how the 2016 budget was padded was in contradiction of any stipulated law of the land,” he stated.

Mr Muqaddam said the people of the constituency wanted “an immediate reinstatement of the suspended member and the court to also order for the payment of all his entitlements for the suspension period”.

Budget Padding: Jibrin Files Fresh Suit Against Dogara

Abdulmumin-Jibrin-To-Make-more-revelationsThe embattled former chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation, Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin, is asking a Federal High Court in Abuja‎ to award the sum of one billion Naira against Speaker Dogara, the House of Representatives and the Clerk of the House.

This is expected to serve as punitive and general damages for his suspension, his counsel said.

In an application for discontinuance of the suit filed against Dogara and 13 others, Mr Jibrin’s counsel said fresh originating summons had been filed before the court.

Mr Jibrin in the new suit is asking the court to declare that his suspension was a violation of his fundamental human right to freedom of expression.

It was a day earlier scheduled by the court to hear the suit the lawmaker had filed, but that did not happen, as the counsel had come with an application for the court to discontinue the suit while a fresh suit was filed.

Mr Jibrin had filed a suit against Mr Dogara after the House passed a resolution, barring him from being part of 180 sitting days.

He claims that the decision to suspend him contravenes the law, since there was a case in a court on the issue.

The suspension was issued after the lawmaker failed to appear before the House Ethics Committee to defend allegations he made against Dogara and some other principle officers of the House.

Representative Jibrin had accused them of padding the 2016 budget, a claim for which he had submitted some documents he claimed were evidences to four Federal Government’s agencies against the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and 11 others.

Mr Jibrin was suspended for allegedly breaching the practices and precedents of the House of Representatives.

According to the House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Representative Yusuf Lasun, Representative Jibrin is also required to tender a formal written apology to the House, before his future resumption of duties.

He is also barred from positions of authority in the House till the end of the 8th assembly.

Completely Inconsequential

The House of Representatives has three sitting days in a week and going by that the lawmaker will be away for 60 weeks.

After the suspension was issued, Mr Jibrin described the decision as ‘completely inconsequential’.

“Whatever product comes out of that process, as far as I am concerned, is completely inconsequential and cannot stand anywhere.

“The matter is in court and it is a matter of litigation,” he told Channels Television.

Jibrin Office, Budget Padding
Office of the lawmaker sealed off after his suspension

Mr Jibrin said he had asked his lawyer to file a suit against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, for contempt. That suit has now been withdrawn.

“While I wait for the formal correspondent from the House, I have in anticipation instructed my lawyer, Femi Falana, to charge Speaker Dogara for contempt, because he is aware that the matter is in court and he went ahead to table the matter before the House and referred it to the ethics committee.

“Of Cause, predictably, this is what they wanted and as far as I am concerned, it is not an issue,” he stressed.

The House had asked him to apologise, but the lawmaker said he would not apologise.

“I can tell you very clearly. I will never, ever, apologise to anybody in the House of Representatives.

“I did not commit any offense, I didn’t do anything wrong. I have said it repeatedly that in the five years that I have spent in the House of Representatives, I have never abused my office. I have never corruptly enriched myself, so I have no reason to apologise to anybody,” the lawmaker from Kano State said.

A day after the suspension was issued, the House of Representatives began the implementation of the resolution, changing the locks of the lawmaker’s office and sealing it off.

Jibrin’s office within the legislative chambers was on Thursday sealed and the locks changed by officials of the House.

Other officials took an inventory of items found in the office.

No Court Papers

Defending the decision of the House, the spokesman for the House, Abdulrazak Namdas, said the lower legislative chamber had not been served with court papers since its resolution to suspend Jibrin.

He said that the House could not be stopped from performing its constitutional duties.

“On this issue of court, I want it to be clear that there is clear separation of powers in this country. We have the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

“No arm of government is to gag another, and I can assure you, if decisions are taken here and someone is aggrieved, he can run to where actions can be taken.

“But for us, we have done what is within the rules. The constitution empowers us to have our rules, to implement it and this has been implemented.

“If he goes to court tomorrow, we will brief you accordingly, but for now, nothing has happened,” Namdas said.

Court To Hear Jibrin’s Suit Against Dogara On October 21

Abdulmumuni Jibrin and Yakubu Dogara in Court over suspensionA court in Abuja will on October 21 hear a suit filed by the former chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee, Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin, against the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

Mr Jibrin had filed a suit against Mr Dogara after the House passed a resolution, barring him from being part of 180 sitting days.

He claims that the decision to suspend him contravenes the law, since there was a case in a court on the issue.

The suspension was issued on Wednesday after the lawmaker failed to appear before the House Ethics Committee to defend allegations he made against Dogara and some other principle officers of the House.

Representative Jibrin had accused them of padding the 2016 budget, a claim for which he had submitted some documents he claimed were evidences to four Federal Government’s agencies against the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and 11 others.

Mr Jibrin was suspended for allegedly breaching the practices and precedents of the House of Representatives.

According to the House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Representative Yusuf Lasun, Representative Jibrin is also required to tender a formal written apology to the House, before his future resumption of duties.

He is also barred from positions of authority in the House till the end of the 8th assembly.

Completely Inconsequential

The House of Representatives has three sitting days in a week and going by that the lawmaker will be away for 60 weeks.

After the suspension was issued, Mr Jibrin described the decision as ‘completely inconsequential’.

“Whatever product comes out of that process, as far as I am concerned, is completely inconsequential and cannot stand anywhere.

“The matter is in court and it is a matter of litigation,” he told Channels Television.

Jibrin Office, Budget Padding
Office of the lawmaker sealed off after his suspension

Mr Jibrin said he had asked his lawyer to file a suit against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, for contempt.

“While I wait for the formal correspondent from the House, I have in anticipation instructed my lawyer, Femi Falana, to charge Speaker Dogara for contempt, because he is aware that the matter is in court and he went ahead to table the matter before the House and referred it to the ethics committee.

“Of Cause, predictably, this is what they wanted and as far as I am concerned, it is not an issue,” he stressed.

The House had asked him to apologise, but the lawmaker said he would not apologise.

“I can tell you very clearly. I will never, ever, apologise to anybody in the House of Representatives.

“I did not commit any offense, I didn’t do anything wrong. I have said it repeatedly that in the five years that I have spent in the House of Representatives, I have never abused my office. I have never corruptly enriched myself, so I have no reason to apologise to anybody,” the lawmaker from Kano State said.

A day after the suspension was issued, the House of Representatives began the implementation of the resolution, changing the locks of the lawmaker’s office and sealing it off.

Jibrin’s office within the legislative chambers was on Thursday sealed and the locks changed by officials of the House.

Other officials took an inventory of items found in the office.

 

No Court Papers

Defending the decision of the House, the spokesman for the House, Abdulrazak Namdas, said the lower legislative chamber had not been served with court papers since its resolution to suspend Jibrin.

He said that the House could not be stopped from performing its constitutional duties.

“On this issue of court, I want it to be clear that there is clear separation of powers in this country. We have the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

“No arm of government is to gag another, and I can assure you, if decisions are taken here and someone is aggrieved, he can run to where actions can be taken.

“But for us, we have done what is within the rules. The constitution empowers us to have our rules, to implement it and this has been implemented.

“If he goes to court tomorrow, we will brief you accordingly, but for now, nothing has happened,” Namdas said.

Dogara: I Will Not Resign, Padding Is Not An Offence

Yakubu-Dogara-Muhammadu-BuhariThe Speaker of the House of Representatives in Nigeria, Mr Yakubu Dogara, says he will not resign despite allegations of budget padding against him.

Mr Dogara made the statement after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.

Talks at the meeting were believed to be largely focused on the budget padding scandal rocking the lower legislative chamber.

It came a day after the ruling All Progressives Congress asked the Speaker to stop further public comments on the budget padding issue that had triggered diverse views.

Not An Offence

A presidency source said Mr Dogara had requested for a meeting with the President over allegations levelled against him by a former Chairman of the Appropriation Committee of the House, Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Shortly after the meeting with the President, the Speaker of the House told reporters that despite the allegation of budget padding, he would not resign.

He said that budget padding was not an offence.

The Speaker further emphasised that he had been a lawyer and a member of the House for a long time that the word padding had never been an offence and that those who allege of padding of the budget should be the ones to prove it.

On whether there would be sanctions against Mr Jibrin, the speaker said: “The ethics committee of the house would determine that”.

Asked if he was worried over the allegation, he said it was nothing to be worried about. “Why should I be worried?” he asked.


Budget padding scandal resurfaced months after the budget was passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, with Mr Jibrin submitting a document to back his allegation against some members of the House to four federal government agencies.

He indicted Mr Dogara and 11 others in the document.

The petition was submitted at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Department of Security Services and the Police headquarters all in Abuja.

During the period the legislative arm of government was deliberating on the budget before its passage, the executive had accused the legislature of adding a project that was not in the document sent to them for approval.

But the legislature insisted that it had only helped the executive to put a poorly documented budget in a better shape.