Budget Padding: Gbajabiamila surrenders to Police for investigation

The Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, says he has submitted himself to the police for investigation into the budget padding allegations levelled against the leadership of the lower chamber.

According to a statement issued on Friday, August 19, Gbajabiamila said he was part of those who took the decision to sack Abdulmumin Jibrin as the Chairman of the of the house committee on appropriation.

Following his removal, Jibrin had accused Speaker Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers of the house, except Gbajabiamila, of illegally inserting constituency projects worth billions of naira into the 2016 budget.

The house leader, who said he has been accused of collaborating with Jibrin, cleared the air on the matter.

He said: “I returned from the United States just yesterday after a three-week break. I called the speaker a day before my return to urgently fix a principal officers’ meeting so we could address the several allegations made by Hon Jibrin.

“At the meeting Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun , Chief Whip, Hon Ado Dogwa and Minority Leader, Hon Leo Ogor passionately and vigorously clearly stated their innocence.

“A prepared text was read and we all agreed to sign. For me as the leader of the house, I felt it was important to give them the benefit of the doubt which in any case is what our constitution says.

“The decision to relieve Hon Jibrin was indeed a collective decision of which I was a part of.

“However, I gave a caveat before the press release was signed, I made it clear to my colleagues in the leadership that because somehow my name had been sullied in all of this and fake documents and publications had been put out there in traditional and social media, which stated I was also involved in the so-called padding of the budget, that I would need to clear my name and that even though no petition was filed against me by Hon Jibrin and no invitation was extended to me by the police, I would be submitting myself on my own volition to the police for investigation.

“This is important to me as insinuations have been made from many quarters that I along with others was sponsoring Hon Jibrin. I have just this afternoon met with the police authorities for a proper and thorough investigation of my role if any in this whole bizarre episode.”

Dogara and other principal officers accused of padding the budget have since denied the allegations.

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