Every expectation that All Progressives Congress (APC), will, in line with its puritanism, sanction its members allegedly involved in the padding of the 2016 federal budget with extraneous line items, were dashed Thursday as Deputy National Chairman (North) of the Party, Lawal Shuaibu, told journalist that no one will be sanctioned.
A member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, who was hitherto chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, had blown the lid on padding of the budget with extraneous line items, allegedly by leadership of the House.
Specifically, Jibrin accused Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy Yusuf Lasun, Majority leader Alhassan Ado-Doguwa and Minority leader, Leo Ogor, of connivance to include some line items in the budget which were not known to the executive and other members of the House.
He also accused the quartet of some other infractions which bother on corruption though he has already, formally, reported the matter to the Police and anti-corruption agencies.
But answering questions from journalists in Abuja Thursday, Shuaibu said APC was not interested in either querying or sanctioning anyone for the alleged infractions on the budget.
He rather said the party was more interested in settling the crisis at the House of Rep over the issue just as he thundered “what is padding”?
Shuaibu also told journalists that padding is not known to law and as such no one could be sanctioned over it.
“What is padding?” Shuaibu asked, adding “the party does not sanction anybody on that. What concerns us is where any member contravenes party constitution in his conduct”.
“That is why I refer you to Article 7 subsection 5 of our party constitution. We are not a law enforcement organisation; we don’t enforce law.
“We only ensure that the constitution is complied with; any member of the party is answerable to the party and answerable to its constituency. The two members that are subjected to this are elected or appointed members of the party, including those that are holding public office”, he added.
It would be recalled that the embattled speaker, Dogara, had in a recent interview, told journalists that there was no law known as padding and as such has committed no crime, though he did not deny the allegations as raised by Jibrin.
“For me, I studied law and I have been in the legislature and all this period I have never heard of the word ‘padding’ being an offence under any law. If I don’t know, you are the media; research the law and let me know”, he had said.
Recall also that APC had earlier barred Jibrin from further commenting on the scandal either in print, electronic or any means of public communication.