Come out clean on budget ‘padding’, group tells National Assembly
• Controversy, a needless distraction, says rep
A non-governmental organisation (NGO), Civil Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), has called on the National Assembly to clear its reputation by truthfully telling Nigerians all it knows about the budget controversy.
In a statement in Abuja by its Executive Director, Auwal Ibrahim Musa, CISLAC said the recent revelation by former chairman of the Appropriation Committee of the House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has further exposed the institutional fraud associated with the legislature over the years.
“We find this allegation coming at a time when issues of Senate Rule forgery are still ongoing as one scandal too many trailing the legislative arm and endangering integrity, confidence and honor that are crucial for the legislature to perform and deepen our democracy.
“The reference to occupants as Honourable and Distinguished is gradually becoming a mere appellation that is stripped of the attendant respect,” he said.
Musa continued: “CISLAC expresses her disappointment at the belated revelations and allegations coming from the ousted chairman as it has become an after-thought and renditions from a disgruntled and outplayed lawmaker who was at the forefront of defending the House when the allegations of budget padding were first made.
“This calls to question his credibility, patriotism and loyalty to the Nigerian people who remained silent when he had the opportunity to blow the whistle and now only spoke because he has lost out.
“We find the practice of constituency projects unnecessary, in conflict with the principle of separation of powers and a channel for legislative corruption and distraction which can be avoided by simply strengthening relevant institutions and systems for project implementation and service delivery.”
Meanwhile, the member representing Ohaji/Egbema/Oguta/Oru Federal Constituency of Imo State, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, yesterday described the controversy as an unnecessary distraction at a time the legislature ought to stand behind Nigerians.
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