|Budget Padding in the House of Representatives|
Nigeria’s National Assembly is a bicameral legislature consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is made up of 109 senators – 3 from each of the 36 states of the federation and 1 from the federal capital territory, Abuja. The House of Representative has 360 members elected from the 36 states and Abuja. The number of members of House of Representatives per states is a factor of the population of the state.
Together, the Senate and the House of Representative is the highest law making body in the land. As Lawmakers, the senators and the members of the House of Representatives are believed to be men of impeccable characters. Hence the prefixes – Distinguished Senator and Honorable for members of the House of Representatives.
However, the crisis rocking the House of Representatives have shown that the so called honorable members are far from honorable. In fact, referring to them as dishonorable members would not be so out of place.
It all started with the budget saga. The Alleged padding of the 2016 budget by the executive which was widely criticized and condemned by Nigerians. What we didn’t know is that while we were attacking the executive, the house of Representatives was busy doing a padding of their own. Padding so widespread that virtually all members of the House of Representatives took part in an illegal allocation of our common wealth to frivolous projects which are nothing more than a cover for siphoning funds.
So how did the bubble burst on the Padding by the House of Representatives?
It all started with an allegation that Jibrin Abdulmumin, the chairman of the appropriation committee – the committee charged with the appropriation of funds have secretly smuggled project worth billions of Naira into the 2016 budget. In a bid to punish the Chairman of the Appropriation committee, the Speaker of the house, Yakubu Dogara removed Jibrin Abdulmumin as the chairman of the Appropriation Committee. That was when all hell broke loose.
Jibrin Abdulmumin will not be branded corrupt and made a scape goat for a crime that even the speaker and all ranking members of the house of representative took part in. So, Jibrin Abdulmumin started singing like a bird. He accused the speaker and a whole lot of members of the House of Reps of smuggling items into the budget. He even accused the speaker of bribing the members of the appropriation committee with huge sums of money. He went ahead and presented hard evidence to support his accusations.
Well, the speaker have threatened to sue Jibrin Abdulmumin if he does not retract the accusations. So far, nothing has happened. Nigerians are waiting to get the true picture of what really transpired in the House of Representatives and the extent of the padding. But the scandal have embarrassed Nigerians and have put the anti-corruption drive of this administration under immense scrutiny.