By Ochuko Akuopha
OLEH—MINORITY Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Leo Ogor, has threatened legal action against the mastermind of allegations of 2016 budget padding and mutilation of the Ministry of Niger Delta budget levelled against him, saying his integrity as a lawmaker was at stake.
Speaking at Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area, Delta State, while presenting his account of stewardship to the Isoko Development Union, IDU, the lawmaker representing Isoko federal constituency at the House of Representatives, he noted that he did not do anything that he considered illegal.
“I did not pad any budget. I introduced projects in line with allocation of N1.4 billion given to me for my constituency,” he said, explaining that the sum of N100 billion was made available to the National Assembly for Zonal Intervention Fund, where each of the six zones got N10 billion each.
Ogor said: “I want to tell you that from 1999 till date, 40 percent of that money which is N40 billion, is now like a convention, a practice, a clear procedure that the principal officers and the leadership; that is the presiding and the principal gets N40 billion. When we talk of N40 billion, it is not as if it is a cash sum given to us to put in our pocket.
“How it is shared is a subject that the House can discuss internally, now out of that money, by the special grace of God, I was made a principal officer and I had N1.4 billion.
“I am not a member of the Appropriation Committee, I am not even a member of the ad-hoc committee set up by the House and the Senate to review the budget, because Mr. President rejected the budget and brought it back to the National Assembly for us to review.
“The House and the Senate set up an ad-hoc committee led by the Deputy Speaker and the Senate leader. I was not there because I said I won’t be a part of such an arrangement. I was not part and parcel of it, so I really don’t know how my name keeps ringing bell all over the place.
“What I want to tell you people is that my hands are very clean. I did not do anything that I consider illegal. What I did was to introduce projects in various communities that borders on communities where they have problems with their hospitals, communities where the children cannot write their JAMB because of these new computer centres, then try to introduce some new computer centres which I consider to be the right of these children. They are the future leaders of this country.
“If providing these infrastructures is what some persons call budget padding, let me be held responsible for budget padding, because it is in the interest of my people.”