Nigeria’s outspoken former President, Olusegun Obasanjo has described the nation’s National Assembly as a den of corruption.
Obasanjo also said that allegations of budget padding raised by lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin should be investigated.
The former president made the comment on Wednesday, November 24, while speaking at the first Akintola Williams Annual Lecture in Lagos.
“Budget padding must not go unpunished. It is a reality, which is a regular and systemic practice. Nobody should pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians,” Obasanjo said.
“Ganging up to intimidate and threaten the life of a whistle blower is deplorable and undemocratic. What of the so-called constituency projects which is a veritable source of corruption?
“These constituency projects are spread over the budget for members of the National Assembly for which they are the initiators and the contractors directly or by proxy and money would be fully drawn with the project only partially executed or not executed at all.
“The National Assembly cabal of today is worse than any cabal that anybody may find anywhere in our national governance system at any time.
“Members of the National Assembly pay themselves allowances for staff and offices they do not have or maintain. Once you are a member, you are co-opted and your mouth is stuffed with rot and corruption that you cannot opt out as you go home with not less than N15 million a month for a senator and N10 million a month for a member of the House of Representatives.
“The National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers. Like the judiciary, the National Assembly cannot clean itself. Look at how the recurrent budget of the National Assembly with the so-called constituency projects has ballooned since the inception of this democratic dispensation.
“What were their budgets in the 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015? The revelation was both alarming and scandalous. Once, when I was president, I asked outside auditors, both normal and forensic, to audit the account of the National Assembly, they frustrated it on the basis of separation of powers.
“They claimed they had oversight responsibility for their corruption and misdemeanour and nothing could be done. It is like asking a thief to watch over himself. There must be full disclosure of all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner at all levels.
“It needs to be purged. With appropriate measures, the budget of the National Assembly can be brought down to less than 50 per cent of what it is today. God will help Nigeria, but we must begin by helping ourselves,” he added.
Obasanjo also said that the National Assembly stinks to high heavens.
The former president had earlier attacked the country’s senators for buying 469 vehicles despite the economic crisis in the country.