ABUJA — APPARENTLY disturbed by the dimension the padding allegations surrounding the 2016 budget has taken, the All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday barred Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; former chairman of Appropriation Committee, Abdulmunin Jibrin, and other lawmakers from talking to the press on the issue.
Towards this direction, the party formally wrote a letter to the leadership of the House which it also copied other members elected on its platform, barring them from making further comments on the allegations to the media.
A source privy to this, who confirmed the information, yesterday, stated that APC, after seeing the dimension the controversy was taking, had come to the realisation that, if left to fester in public domain, the issue was capable of destroying the anti corruption drive of APC-led government.
He said: “If the question must be asked about the integrity of the Appropriation Act, certain responsibilities would also be placed at the doorstep of the President, who signed the document that is now adjudged to be padded.
“The question must also be asked that at what point did the executive decide to sign the document and under what circumstance?
“So should the leadership of the House or the National Assembly take the blames alone, because it takes two to tango, as far as passing and signing a bill into law is concerned?
“So I think the APC has now realised that if it allows the warring parties to continue the macabre dance, the world could also begin to see its failings.
Padding non-existent in legislative parlance —Group
Also yesterday, a group, Faculty Board of Initiatives, FBI, a think-tank, comprising seven former and serving members of the House of Representatives, has said the National Assembly could not be said to have padded the budget, saying ‘padding’ was unknown to lexicon of the Legislature.
Addressing journalists on behalf of the group at NASS Complex, the former member and erstwhile spokesman of the House of Representatives, Eseme Eyibo, said the issue of alleged padding of budget in the House was a misapplication of an English word that never existed in the dictionary of the Legislature.
The former lawmaker, who spoke on the budget padding allegations between the former chairman of the House Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin and the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, explained that the Legislature derived powers under Section 80 subsection 4 of 1999 Constitution of Nigeria to make inputs and adjustments into annual budgets of the Federal Government and urged the public to allow it exercise the powers.