The Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor, on Saturday opposed the involvement of the State Security Service, SSS, in the budget padding crisis in the parliament.
Mr. Ogor said the police and the two anti-graft agencies, EFCC and ICPC, were more appropriate to investigate the scandal.
Mr. Ogor’s contention followed the announcement by a former chairman of House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, that he had petitioned security agencies on his allegations that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and other lawmakers padded the 2016 budget.
Mr. Jibrin said following his petition, the secretariat of the House Appropriation Committee was shut by agents of the SSS.
He began working to oust Mr. Dogara from office a day after the Speaker announced his removal as chairman of Appropriation Committee on allegations that he committed serial betrayal of trust.
Mr. Jibrin said he had confidence in the fact that his petition would prompt appropriate agencies to arrest Mr. Dogara and others he mentioned in his allegations, including Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Mr. Ogor.
But Mr. Ogor, in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Saturday, said Mr. Jibrin was wrong to involve the SSS, but added that he would work to clear his name.
“The right authority to investigate this matter is the Nigeria Police and not the State Security Service,” Mr. Ogor said. “But because my name is involved, I would go to any extent to clear my name.”
“The internal security of the nation is the function of the SSS. This is clearly the work of the Nigeria Police. EFCC can also investigate the matter.”
Mr. Ogor also refuted Mr. Jibrin’s allegation that he was living above his means, saying “it is very insulting for anybody to tell me I’m living above my means because I live in Apo Legislative Quarters for 14 years.”
“Is it because I’m not living in Maitama or Asokoro?” Mr. Ogor said.
Mr. Ogor urged the public to dismiss Mr. Jibrin’s allegation that he colluded with Mr. Dogara and others to manipulate line items in the budget in order to fraudulently award public funds to themselves.
He said Nigerians should ask Mr. Jibrin why he presided over a “mutilated budget” as the chair of Appropriation Committee.
“The president said ‘I won’t sign until I see the details.'” he said. “So, the question you’re supposed to ask yourself is, why did the president refuse to sign the budget? Because the budget was mutilated.
“When the president returned the budget back the budget was now referred to the National Assembly. The National Assembly set up an ad hoc committee to now restore the budget from that mutilated nature.”
Mr. Ogor said he had no influence over budget decisions in the House.
“Do I have access to appropriation? For Christ sake, let all of us grow up,” Mr. Ogor said. “Somebody is busy lying there and everybody has accepted.”
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