Reports have it that Buhari will not be shielding lawmakers found culpable in the House of Reps budget padding impasse.
Yakubu Dogara and Abdulmumin Jibrin
A source close to the Presidency has revealed the President, Muhammadu Buhari is set to distance himself from the budget padding saga in the House of Representatives to allow the full weight of the law take its cause.
According to the Vanguard, Buhari is relunctant to assist erring individuals lobbying for assistance. Meanwhile, investigation into allegations that Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and four other principal officers injected projects worth N281 billion into the 2016 budget continues with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami waiting for the conclusion of the police reports to wade into the crisis.
Another report also have it that 262 members of the House have backed the signature drive in solidarity with the speaker. Besides, northern youths, under the aegis of Northern Youths Integrity Forum, NYIF, have written the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, calling for the arrest and prosecution of former chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, over his role in the controversy surrounding alleged padding of 2016 budget.
However, in the heat of the controversy and summons from a special probe panel raised by the Inspector-General of Police, Dogara, last weekend, met Buhari but Presidency sources confirmed to a correspondent last night that Buhari was non-committal.
A senior aide of Buhari, who is privy to what transpired at the meeting, said the President did not offer to help the embattled speaker but asked him to cooperate with the probe panel so as to prove his innocence and clear his name.
The aide, who pleaded anonymity, said it was not in the character of the President to interfere with any criminal investigation in line with his anti-corruption posture and would, therefore, not offer any form of assistance to anyone undergoing investigation or trial over graft.
“This is not about Dogara or anyone in particular. This President will not intercede to stop the investigation or trial of anyone,” the presidential aide said.
The refusal of the President to intervene has opened the prospect of a criminal indictment and prosecution should the Modu Ali probe panel establishes sufficient evidence of budget padding against them.