Looming Crisis? Budget Padding Takes New Twist as Speaker Dogara Shuns Police Invitation
According to an authoritative report by Punch late on Wednesday, the embattled speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, shunned the invitation of the Nigerian Police Special Investigating Panel over allegations of budget padding.
The report revealed further that the Speaker did not honour the police invitation because the letter was not signed by the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
It was gathered that the panel had in a letter to Speaker Dogara requested him and others mentioned in the petition to appear before it last Friday as the speaker did not honour the invitation. Rather, he met with President Muhamadu Buhari over the budget crisis on Friday.
While Dogara’s accuser and a former House Appropriation Chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin, appeared before the panel last week Friday, and on Tuesday, Dogara and other principal officers shunned it.
It was further gathered that on Wednesday, the police invitation was regarded as an “informal invitation.”
A committee chairman close to Dogara who spoke on condition of anonymity told Punch's correspondents that although an invitation was sent to the Speaker last week by the police, the document was “considered to be informal because it was signed by a low-ranking officer.”
“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,” he said, adding that Dogara’s reason was not tenable and that any member of the panel could sign the invitation.
When contacted, Dogara’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, said he would make enquiries and respond. However, as of 9.48pm on Wednesday, Hassan had yet to return the call. He also did not reply to a text message sent to his mobile phone.
The Force Public Relations Officer, Donald Awunah, said he could not comment because he did not know anything about the investigation. “I don’t know about the investigation, so I can’t comment,” he said on the telephone.