Budget Padding Saga: Speaker Dogara shuns police invitation

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has shunned invitation from the police Special Investigating Panel over allegations of budget padding.

The Speaker did not honour the police invitation because, according to him, the letter was not signed by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.

The panel had in a letter to Dogara requested him and others mentioned in the petition to appear before it last Friday. The Speaker, however, did not honour the invitation.

While Dogara’s accuser and a former Appropriation Chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin, appeared before the panel last week Friday and on Tuesday, Dogara and other principal officers shunned it.

Jibrin had accused the Speaker of padding the 2016 budget in collusion with officers of the House.

Jibrin had submitted a petition against the accused to the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, urging the agencies to probe them.

The lawmaker had also visited the police last Wednesday with documents to back up his claims.

According to Punch, Dogara camp is regarding the police invitation as an “informal invitation.”

A committee chairman close to Dogara who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that although an invitation was sent to the Speaker last week by the police, the document was “considered informal because it was signed by a low-ranking officer.”

He said, “The Speaker is the number four citizen of this country. If you are sending a letter to him, there should be a signature of the Inspector-General of Police on it.”

But a source close to the public panel told one of our correspondents that Dogara’s reason was not tenable, adding that any member of the panel could sign the invitation.

In serious country, even a constable can arrest a senior officer if he's said to have committed a crime.