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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said the budget padding allegations against him and other leaders of the House impacted negatively on the integrity of the National Assembly.
The speaker said this in his remarks while welcoming members back to plenary after their recess that lasted eight weeks.
A member of the House, who was removed as Chairman, Appropriations Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin, made the allegations against Dogara and some principal officers of the lower chamber.
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Dogara said the scandal orchestrated by Jibrin 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.
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“The motivation for his actions as he has said severally and 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 the leadership of the House 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 Nigerians that the House was fully conscious of its role, the speaker said lawmakers would not be distracted by the allegations.
He described the method 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 said 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.