Budget Paddling: Tell Nigerians the truth – CISLAC warns National Assembly
An NGO, known as the Civil Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), has called on the National Assembly to come clean on the various scandals rocking the legislative arm.
Executive Director, CISLAC, Mr Auwal Musa, made the call on Thursday in Abuja in a statement issued to newsmen.
He said that the recent revelations by Rep. Abdulmumuni Jibrin, the erstwhile Chairman, Appropriation Committee, House of Representatives, had further exposed the institutional fraud that had characterised the National Assembly over the years
He said: “we note that such practices of padding the budget at the point of defence and making dubious inclusions of constituency projects had been going on for a long time.
“We also note that lawmakers demand and receive inducement for sectoral allocation.
“They also receive or demand gratification in exchange for ministerial confirmation and even extort money from MDAs under the guise of oversight functions.
“We find these allegations, coming at a time when issues of senate rules forgeries are still on-going, as one scandal too many trailing the legislative arm.
“The scandals are endangering the integrity, confidence and honour that are crucial for the legislature to perform and deepen our democracy.
“The reference to legislators as Honourable and Distinguished is gradually becoming a mere appellation that is stripped of the attendant respect.’’
Musa recalled that in spite of promises from the leaders of the National Assembly to disclose the details of the budget of the legislature, Nigerians were yet to have access to that information.
“We find it ironic that elected representatives are unwilling to make information on how funds appropriated from taxpayers’ money are allocated and spent.
“We note that these events are a product of failed recruitment process and flawed party processes that have resulted in the emergence of leaders who are unprepared to undertake the challenging art of governance in a diverse environment.
“We call on the National Assembly to take advantage of this latest revelation to undertake self-introspection and urgently rise up to cleanse itself and make efforts to redeem its image and reputation which is presently at its lowest ebb.
“We call on political parties to reorganise and commence a process for leadership recruitment and internal party democracy.
“This will facilitate the emergence of persons with integrity, patriotism and a mindset of service, who will be adequately prepared to occupy leadership positions and lead Nigeria to meet the aspirations of her people,” he said.