Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has dragged Speaker of the House of Representatives and four others lawmakers to sent an urgent appeal to United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights over 2016 budget padding.
SERAP in a petition dated July 27th, 2016 urged Professor Philip Alston, UN Special Rapporteur to use his good offices and position to urgently request the leadership of the House of Representatives of Nigeria to explain the alleged deliberate padding of the 2016 budget with N481 billion.
SERAP said the removal of critical projects and replacement of such projects with constituency projects, which have not only undermined the fight against corruption in the country but also exacerbated extreme poverty and violations of internationally recognized human rights should also be probed.
SERAP executive director Adetokunbo Mumuni states that, “SERAP considers the alleged budget padding, diversion of public funds and abuse of office by the leadership of the House of Representatives as amounting to a deliberate retrogressive action, which cannot be justified by reference to the totality of internationally recognized human rights, and in the context of the obligation to fully use the maximum available resources to fulfil and ensure the enjoyment of those rights.”
The petitioner also copied to Mr Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; the Conference of States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption and the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
The petition reads further: “This request is based on allegations by the immediate past Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmunin Jibrin, and available documents that Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three other principal officers of the House of the Representatives padded the 2016 budget to the tune of N481 billion and included N100 billion on constituency projects, contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution.”
“Mr Jubrin also accused Mr Dogara and Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun, Chief Whip, Hassan Ado Doguwa and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor of perpetrating financial fraud; that Mr Dogara is running the finances of the House like his personal estate; that Mr Dogara and the other principal officers diverted millions of naira in the name of paying for guest houses and official residence; that Mr Dogara abuses his office by soliciting for inappropriate favours from agencies and multinational companies; and that Mr Dogara forced an agency to grant loans and a construction company was blackmailed to do some work at his Asokoro plot. Other allegations by Mr Jubrin and supported by documents now circulating on the internet are that Dogara has consistently refused members access to the financial dealings and internal budget of the House; that Mr Dogara runs the financial management of the House like a cult.”