Some civil society organisations have called on the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, to sack the chairman Senate committee on appropriation, Barau Jibrin.
Making the demand at the weekend during a protest to the National Assembly, the groups, Guidance of Democracy and Development Initiative (GDDI) and Partners for Legislative Agenda in Nigeria (PLAN), said the Kano senator cannot remain the chairman of the committee in the face of the report of his alleged involvement in budget padding.
Leaders of the group, Danesi Momoh Prince of GDDI and Igwe Ude-Umanta, noted that Senator Jibrin’s continuous leadership of such a sensitive committee is in variance with the All Progressives Congress (APC) anti-corruption crusade.
They noted: ”It is therefore incumbent on you as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to rise to the moral and patriotic occasion before you and sack the indicted Senator.
“We are very saddened about the manifestation of corruption in Nigeria in its instituted forms. At a period of undeniable economic downturn and financial austerity for the federal government, it is suffocating to live with the fact that as long as a character like Senator Barau Jibrin chairs the Appropriation Committee of the Senate, budget padding will be the order of the day.
”The 2020 Appropriation Act is full of padded expenditures which have now been pronounced by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as failing in all the integrity tests of accepted procedures in procurement and an aberration to the provisions of the Procurement Act.
”In the reported Constituency and Executive Tracking Exercise Phase 3 Report of the ICPC, it has become obvious that Senator Barau Jibrin has bestrode our national budget as a monstrous Colossus, creating expenditures that can only be criminally explained, or accounted for.
”And expectedly, the Senator has not denied the allegations in the ICPC report against him. A man who is found to have grossly abused our National Budget should not by any moral compass be allowed to continue to superintend over the legislative scrutiny of our National Budget.
”It is no longer news that various contract scams have been traced to Sinity Nig. Ltd, Jibril Electrical Engineering and Talgo Luxury Estate Investment Nig. Ltd (companies owned by Senator Jibrin, and his family members, or in which he has serious stakes in).
”Projects running into millions are found to have been paid for in Kano North Senatorial District where the Chairman Senate Appropriation Committee represents, without any evidence of the projects being delivered or executed. Other projects are awarded and paid for without any iota of regard to Procurement Rules or the Procurement Act.
“It is therefore a matter of patriotic duty for you, the Senate President to act in the national interest by removing him as a matter of dire urgency. Nigerians can no longer afford the continuous padding of our national budget. Enough is enough!”
Meanwhile, another group, Civil Society Organisations for Transparency and Accountability (CSOTA), has defended Jibrin, even as it passed a vote of confidence in him.
Taking another protest to the same National Assembly in Abuja, spokesperson for the group, Sunday Attah, group described the earlier protesters as “miscreants, hired and sponsored” by some politicians to discredit the Senator.
While passing a vote of confidence on the senator, the protesters said: “It’s on record that Senator Barau Jibrin alongside his colleagues worked hard to deliver the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari agenda of returning the national budgetary system to January-December budget cycle. Nigerians are happy with this great feat achieved by these credible Nigerians, which has no doubt brought transparency and accountability to our budget system.
“We make bold to say that, under the distinguished leadership of Senator Barau Jibrin the padding of budgets has become a thing of the past and transparency, openness and accountability is the order of the day.
“It’s on this note that we wish to pass a vote of confidence on the leadership of Senator Barau Jibrin. And we urge him to stay focused and continue to do his good work for the betterment of the country and shouldn’t allow himself to be intimidated by hired urchins and political detractors.”