Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 22 July 2016 | 2,253 times
The House of Representatives is locked in a war of words with the former Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin, over his allegation against the lower chamber and its leaders. Jibrin exposed what he claimed to be the dirty deals of principal officers of the House some 24 hours after he was removed from his plum position by Speaker Yakubu Dogara for his alleged role in the padding of the 2016 Federal Budget.
Jibrin claimed Thursday in a statement that his offence was asserting his independence and insisting that the right thing is being done at all times so that corrupt people could be exposed in the House.
Commenting on the 2016 Budget that was padded, Jibrin said: “I strongly believe with every conviction that in cleaning up the budgeting system and considering what transpired during 2016 budget which I have all the facts documented.”
Jibrin said that based on facts at his disposal “the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor should resign.”
He also submitted that his inability to admit into the budget almost N30 billion personal requests from Mr. Speaker and the three other principal officers also became an issue, adding that his refusal to cover up their unilateral decision to allocate to themselves N40 billion out of the N100 billion allocated to the entire NASS were his sins.
The statement reads in part: “The four of them met and took that decision, in addition to billions of wasteful projects running over N20 billion they allocated to their constituencies. I have documented evidence to this effect.
“I will be releasing a more detailed statement in due course. Meanwhile, I intend to explore all internal avenues of the House to brief my colleagues in detail and testify against Speaker Dogara, Deputy Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority leader Leo Ogor on why they should resign. If I am not allowed to exercise my privilege, I shall consider legal options. I can no longer bear the brunt of abuses and baseless allegations keeping quiet all in the name of ‘confidentiality’ expected of an appropriation chairman.
“I will not allow anybody no matter how highly placed to destroy my life as intended by the full statement of Speaker Yakubu Dogara. Now, Nigerians will see clearly the ulterior motive behind the desperate moves for immunity for principal officers of the National Assembly."
Jibrin’s claims were, however, swiftly dismissed by the Chairman, House Committee on Media, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas, who said in a statement: “Most of the allegations on the 2016 Budget process and his opposition to immunity of presiding officers are non issues and mere afterthought manufactured simply because the House relieved him of his position. If he had all these ‘facts’ before, why didn’t he make them public? Why is he doing that now?”
Namdas said Jibrin is like any other member of the House who knows that there are conventions and precedents as it relates to budgets and projects for principal officers of the National Assembly, and wondered why he is making it an issue now?
According to the statement, “He (Jibrin) is entitled to his opinion as a Nigerian and as a legislator while acting within the laws of Nigeria and rules of the House. We must make it abundantly clear that he was not removed because of his support or otherwise on immunity bill. After all, he is not the only one who opposed the bill.
“The Bill is still pending before the committee on review of constitution and it has to be voted upon by each and every member of the House, get Senate concurrence, endorsed by two-third of the 36 State Houses of Assembly and be assented to by the President.
“He should not distract the House from giving legislative support on important issues facing the government concerning the revival of the economy, insecurity in the country, pursuit of anti-corruption measures, poverty alleviation, infrastructural development, etc. The Nigerian people are simply not ready to waste their time on personal issues and personal egos of our leaders. We should face the urgent tasks before us for which we were elected.”
•Photo shows Speaker Dogara.
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