*Says He Never Heard Of Budget Padding Until 2016 –
President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that the insertions experienced with the 2016 Budget, where a number rogue projects where inserted into the appropriation bill, will not occur in the 2017 Budget.
Buhari, while receiving members of the Governance Support Group (GSG), led by Hon. Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, at State House in Abuja, said that in his 41 years of being in government, he never “heard the word ‘padding’ till the 2016 Budget.”
The President, who said this in a statement by his special adviser media, Femi Adesina, promised that he will personally look out for signs of padding in the 2017 budget and eliminate them.
“I am waiting for the 2017 Budget to be brought to us in Council. Any sign of padding anywhere, I will remove it,” Buhari said.
It would be recalled that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, who was accused by the then Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, of spearheading insertions of projects into the 2016 Appropriation Bill, had argued that budget padding was not a punishable crime.
He was quoted saying: “I studied Law and I have been in the legislature and all this period I have never heard of the word ‘padding’ being an offence under any law.”
Meanwhile, ex-Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, knocked President Buhari for deliberately leaving out the House of Assembly after operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS), raided homes of some Nigerian judges believed to be corrupt.
“If the Judiciary is being cleaned, what of the National Assembly which stinks much worse than the Judiciary?” Obasanjo asked
“They are blatant in their misbehaviour, cavalier in their misconduct and arrogant in the misuse of parliamentary immunity as a shield against reprisals for their irresponsible acts of malfeasance and/or outright banditry,” he said.
“We should not continue to live with the impunity and corruption of the National Assembly.”
“These constituency projects are spread over the budget for members of the National Assembly for which they are the initiators and the contractors directly or by proxy and money would be fully drawn with the project only partially executed or not executed at all,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
Obasanjo further described the House of Representatives as “a den of corruption” controlled by “a gang of unarmed robbers.”
In response to Obasanjo’s allegations, spokesman of the House, Abdulrazak Namdas, slammed the ex-President, describing him as “the grandfather of corruption in Nigeria.”