THE last may not have been heard on the padding of the 2016 budget by some principal officers of the House of Representatives as alleged last week by the ousted chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin, as some members of the committee publicly disowned him.
Addressing newsmen in Abuja, the deputy chairman of the committee, Honourable Chris Azubogu, flanked by other members, declared that “as members of the Committee on Appropriation, we want to state categorically that the ousted chairman’s action does not in any way reflect the position of the committee. He has constantly allotted all the actions and decisions of the committee to himself without conferring with the members.
According to him, “we, the members of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation view with total dismay and disappointment the conduct of the former chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Honourable Jibrin.
“We wish to state that we totally disassociate ourselves from all the plots to pull down the integrity of the leadership and members of the eighth House of Representatives.
“For the avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that a comprehensive collation of the reports of the budget from the various standing committees of the House was done by the appropriation committee which was in the process of deliberation when the ousted chairman unilaterally hijacked the entire budget to a hideout with his consultant without the consent of the committee. That was the last time the committee saw the budget only for Honourable Jibrin to resurface about three weeks later, with a report purported to have come from the committee.
“In reaction to this unwarranted provocation, members approached Mr Speaker with a complaint and a demand to remove Honourable Jibrin as the chairman of the committee. In his calm and peaceful manner, Mr Speaker sought to resolve the matter amicably in the overall interest of the House and the nation.
“In his usual recalcitrant manner, Honourable Jibrin preferred the confrontational approach which irked the members to request for his urgent removal from office. This request was overwhelmingly supported by the entire House.
“In response to this demand by members, Mr Speaker had no choice but to act accordingly in order to maintain the integrity of the House
“We also wish to state for clarity that there is no offence known to law in Nigeria as budget padding, otherwise the entire work of appropriation in the past and in the future will amount to nothing.