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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

NASS scandal: Dogara in more trouble as APC summons Jibrin


– Abdulmumuni Jibrin, a former chairman of the House
committee on appropriation has been summoned by the
APC
– Jibrin’s summoning is not unconnected with his
move to deal with Speaker of the House of
Representatives, Yakubu Dogara
– Dogara might soon have his security details
withdrawn by the government
Embattled ex-chairman of the House Committee on
appropriation, Hon Abdulmumuni Jibrin has been
summoned by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Abdulmumin Jibrin
Reports suggest that on Monday, August 1, the APC
sent a letter to Abdulmumuni Jibrin, summoning him to
appear before a disciplinary committee at the party’s
national secretariat in Abuja not later than the afternoon
of Tuesday, July 2.
READ ALSO: Just In: If Buhari does this, Nigeria will be
destroyed forever?
Premium Times reports that the ruling party said all
attempts to reach Mr Jibrin (who has remained
underground for almost two weeks) by telephone calls
and text messages were unsuccessful, leaving the party
with no choice than to write to him.
In the letter, dated August 1, 2016, and signed by the
party’s Deputy National Chairman for the Northern
Zone, Lawal Shuaibu, the APC expressed cautioned Mr.
Jibrin’s over his media campaign against the Speaker of
the House, Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers
over allegation of budget fraud.
“To say the least, it is absolutely unacceptable to resort to
media war as a means of settling scores without recourse
to and/or exhausting the party’s internal dispute resolution
mechanism,” the party said.
Jibrin was removed as chairman of the appropriation
committee in controversial circumstances on July 20 on
allegations of betrayal of trust.
The lawmaker fought back, embarking on a vicious
media campaign to have Dogara; his deputy, Yusuf
Lasun; House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa and Minority
Leader, Leo Ogor, removed from office. (Ogor is the
only PDP member of the four.)
Jibrin’s campaign had seen him release details about
how the passage of the 2016 budget was handled by
lawmakers in a way that portrayed them as fraudulent.
On July 29, he disclosed that he had dispatched
incriminating documents to the authorities, who
immediately swung into action.
By July 30, the State Security Service sealed the
Appropriation Committee Secretariat in the White House
Building of the National Assembly.
On Monday afternoon, Jibrin posted on his Twitter page
that he had visited the EFCC , the ICPC , the SSS and
police headquarters to personally hand in petitions
against Mr. Dogara and his colleagues.
In the APC’s letter to Jibrin, the party said the Kano
lawmaker’s action underscored a blatant disregard for
party supremacy and its existing dispute resolution
mechanism, adding that it would work to ensure that it
instilled discipline on all members.
“As a disciplined party, the constitution of our party has
made adequate provisions on ways of resolving any issue
among our members,” Mr Shuaibu said.
“It behoves on the party to take all necessary steps in order
to ensure that no member of the Family brings dishonour to
the party.”
The APC, therefore, reiterated its notice for Mr. Jibrin to
appear before the party tomorrow, “urging” him to “be
guided accordingly” as he digested the content of the
letter.
“You are, therefore, by this invitation, expected to appear
before the undersigned at the APC National Secretariat on
Tuesday, 2nd August, 2016, at 2 p.m. Kindly note that
failure to and/or refusal to honour this invitation will
amount to a decision you have made not to submit to the
party.”
Shortly after Jibrin announced his visits to law
enforcement agencies’ offices where he deposited
submitted petitions, Mr Ogor immediately welcomed the
move.
“It’s a welcome development,” Mr. Ogor told newsmen.
“Now that he has pushed the matter to the EFCC, then
Nigerians should exercise patience to see what the truth of
the matter is.”
Another lawmaker, Adams Jagaba, on Monday said
Jibrin should desist from further defaming him and
other lawmakers with the budget padding mess.
Jagaba said the warning became necessary after he
learnt that Mr. Jibrin had named him alongside others
who he accused of attempting to fraudulently inflate the
2016 budget figures, saying he had been a long time
proponent of selflessness in public service.
Mr. Jagaba, chairman of House Committee on Interior,
said he lived a “modest life,” unlike Mr. Jibrin who
allegedly occupied “posh personal apartment at the
highbrow Maitama District” of Abuja with “very
expensive automobiles.”
According to Jagaba, Jibrin’s car fleet included Toyota
Land Cruiser SUVs and Range Rover vehicles, he noted
that Jibrin moves around with a “very long convoy of
expensive cars with host of security guards armed to the
teeth.”
Jagaba said his distaste for corruption dated back to his
days as the chairman of teh House Committee on Anti-
Corruption, saying he was amongst those who
championed the course for a total rejection of bribes
allegedly given to lawmakers by former President
Olusegun Obasanjo, a tenet he said he had continued to
uphold ever since.
“Ordinarily, I would have ignored the said publication, but I
am compelled to respond for posterity sake. Without
sounding immodest, my anti-corruption crusade dates back
to my first term between 1999 and 2003, when I exposed
the plot of the Presidency which attempted to bribe
Honourable Members for the purposes of effecting a
leadership change in the House of Representatives.”
“As Chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption then, I
exhibited the money meant for that plot on the floor of the
House at plenary. Again, in 2012, during the scandal that
was referred to as “FAROUKGATE”, my name was
mentioned. However, after thorough investigation by the
Police and other relevant agencies, I was exonerated and
given a clean bill of health,” Mr. Jagaba said.
Jagaba said he had continued to maintain a 2013
Toyota RAV4 mid-size SUV, saying Mr. Jibrin is the one
who allegedly had cause to be afraid of facing
consequences of his action.
“It amazes me, therefore, for Hon. Abdulmumini to petition
the EFCC to investigate me for living above my means
without giving any proof. As a third term member of the
House of Representatives, I live in a rented three-bedroom
apartment that has no Boys Quarters. Amongst the cars I
drive, the most expensive one is a 2013 Toyota RAV4 2.2
litre engine.
“I do not move around with a convoy of expensive cars. If
as a third termer and at fifty-six (56) years of age this is a
summary of my life-style as stated above, I have nothing to
fear. Can this be said of Hon. Abdulmumini who is less than
forty (40) years old and only a second termer? Certainly
not,” Jagaba said.
“Hon. Abdulmumini may claim that he has been into
business for a long time. But the question remains, what
type of business? Before his election in 2011, he was a
lecturer. It is a known fact that he was arraigned by the
EFCC in 2012 for some shady deals he got involved.
“It is characters like him who should tremble in fear at the
mention of the name of EFCC. I hope I should not have
cause to pick up my pen on this issue again, as Hon.
Abdulmumini may not find it palatable. My counsel to him,
therefore, is: “Those who live in glass houses should not
throw stones” .
“Jibrin could not be reached for comment for this story.
Meanwhile, indications emerged Sunday that security
details of the Speaker of the House of Representatives,
Yakubu Dogara may be withdrawn on the orders of the
Federal Government over the controversy surrounding
the 2016 budget.
Vanguard reports that a document linking the Majority
leader of the House, Femi Gbajabimila with constituency
projects worth over N4 billion which is domiciled in
Osun and Niger States against the initial N1.8 billion
constituency projects allocated to him was in
circulation.
This is just as the secretariat of the House
Appropriation Committee was on Sunday still under the
watch of about four security operatives.
Security sources hinted that the withdrawal of security
aides to the principal officers allegedly fingered in the
budget brouhaha was ensure that there was no
obstruction on the course of investigations.
Investigations revealed that the security personnel that
were guiding the appropriation committee secretariat
were not the regular operatives from the National
Assembly.
Meanwhile about 27 civil society organisations have
raised the alarm of alleged conspiracy with external
forces against the leadership of the House of
Representatives, saying that if nothing was done to
apply caution, it would threaten the democracy in the
country.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the national coordinator
of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria,
HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko alongside other
26 CSOs, said “It is disingenuous for the sacked
Appropriation committee chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin to
make any claims of exposing massive corruption in the
House, accusing speaker Yakubu Dogara of moves to
personally smuggle N30bn into 2016 budget.”
He said that the understanding of the powers of the
National Assembly seems to say that the legislature is
constitutionally empowered to vet proposed budget
since these elected officials were not rubber stamps of
the president.
In the same vein, the Leader of the House of
Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has broken his
silence over the budget padding scandal rocking the
lower chamber, following accusations of budget fraud
made against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and others by
former appropriations committee chairman,
Abdulmumin Jibrin.
Mr Gbajabiamila remained silent since the House
descended into a crisis that has drawn the attention of
anti-corruption agencies, and sparked calls for the
Speaker to step aside.
Gbajabiamila gave his position via emails sent to
members of the House on Monday, August 1.
He confirmed to this newsmen that he disseminated the
message in which he asked not to be dragged into “an
arena I tried very hard to stay out of” .
Jibrin had last year withdrawn from the speakership
race to back Dogara who was then running a tight race
against Mr. Gbajabiamila, the then anointed candidate
of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
There were speculations last week that Mr. Jibrin had
teamed up with Mr. Gbajabiamila to unseat the
Speaker.
But Gbajabiamila, through his media aide, Wasiu
Olanrewaju, told newsmen that he had no deal with Mr.
Jibrin or any problem with Dogara’s leadership.
He however called for investigation of the allegations,
and cautioned against taking sides.
The Lagos lawmaker circulated emails to colleagues
after some unknown people sent text messages around
suggesting he was part of a group working discreetly to
force a leadership change in the House.
Premium times reports that the anonymous message
was sent from phone number 08119106894.
It reads: “Plot to destabilize the leadership of the House of
Reps has taken a new dimension as the AGF working with
Gbajabiamila, Jibrin & SGF has (sic) drafted charges to
arraign and detain principal officers of the House so that the
transparency group who recently met with Tinubu’s wife
will effect a leadership change with Gbajabiamila as
Speaker and Jibrin as Deputy.
This is why Jibrin did not mention Femi in his allegations.
The 8th House won’t be anybody’s rubber stamp. We will
resist them like the senate resisted them.”
But Gbajabiamila in his email to lawmakers, denied
claims made in the anonymous message.
He said: “Since the budget controversy that engulfed the
House about a week ago, I have pointedly maintained a
dignified silence. I did this for the sake of the institution I
represent and which I have laboured hard to grow and
protect, knowing that whatever I say could be impactful
both within the House and outside it.
“I was determined to keep in place the glue that holds an
otherwise fragmented House, protect its integrity and at
same time avoid eroding the little confidence and vestiges
of hope Nigerians have in us.
“I am being dragged into an arena I tried very hard to stay
out of only for the good of the House. The Speakership
election has come and gone. The election was divisive and
acrimonious but I have since worked hard to heal the
wounds some of which still fester amongst members on
both sides.
“It is my responsibility to bring all tendencies in a House I
lead together and I have worked well with the Speaker and
all other Principal officers in a bipartisan manner and in the
interest of the institution and members.
“It is clear that our budget process needs radical reform
and very quickly too. Yes, allegations have been made but I
strongly believe judgment should not be passed based on
allegations. We operate a constitutional democracy and we
must at all times submit to its dictates and ethos. All
parties are innocent until otherwise proven. This should be
our guide. I plead with all members. The mudslinging must
stop.
“This text message, which desperately seeks to finger me
in some macabre plot to destabilize the House is a
throwback and echoes our dark post Speakership election
history. The resurfacing or resurgence of the faceless text
messengers will not help us as a House and let me quickly
add that it will fail.”
In a related development, Linus Okorie, a member of the
House of Representatives from Ebonyi state, has
accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led
government of plotting to remove the speaker of the
House, Yakubu Dogara and the entire house leadership.
The lawmaker claimed the presidency was plotting to do
this by capitalizing on the allegations raised by Jibrin
Abdulmumin, the former chairman of the House of
Representatives Committee on Appropriations, who was
sacked recently.
In a statement issued on Monday, August 1, Okorie, who
declared his loyalty to Dogara, said the plot would fail
as the speaker and other members of the house had not
done anything illegal.
Meanwhile Dogara has been advised to resign as to
spare himself a national embarrassment that seem
imminent. Lagos lawmaker, Moshood Oshun, the
chairman of the state House of Assembly committee on
public account (for state) gave the advise on Monday,
August 1, 2016 as Jibrin delivered petitions to security
and anti-graft agencies against Dogara.
Oshun said their resignation would allow for effective
investigation into the allegations against them by Jibrin.
He however warned that the matter should be handled
with caution just as he also said he would not take sides
or conclude until investigation was fully conducted.
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