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House of Reps padding mess gets dirtier 

The ongoing face-off between Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC Kano), former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation and the Speaker Yakubu Dogora got dirtier as more revelations and secrets are being uncovered from the 2016 budget, as both parties continue to tackle each other.

 The latest turn of events have seen supporters of Dogara accuse Hon. Jubrin of attempting to pad the 2016 with N250bn and also allocating N4.1bn to his constituency.Jibrin on his part has accused Dogara, Deputy Speaker Hon. Yusuf Sulaimon Lasun, the Chief Whip Hon. Ado Garba Alhassan and the Minority Leader Hon. Ogor Leonard Okuwehof of attempting to detain him and stop him from expressing himself.

 Hon. Ado Garba and Hon. Ogor have dismissed Jibrin’s  claims, calling them lies and an attempt to blackmail. Other members of the house have also condemned Hon. Jibrin.

 Jibrin who is a member of the APC, representing Bebeji/Kiru constituency, Kano, had on Thursday, 21, 2016 called for the resignation of the Speaker and the three other principal officers mentioned, after accusing them of Budget padding, after his replacement by Hon. Mustapha Dawakimade from Kano was announced by the Speaker on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.

 The Deputy Publicity Secretary of The All Progressive Congress APC has also weighed into the matter, as he asked Jubrin to proceed to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

 Minority Leader Hon. Ogor Leonard Okuweh and Chief Whip Hon. Ado Garba Alhassan in separate instances denied Jibrin  claims.

Ogor who is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) representing Isoko North/South of Delta State said he does not want to go into altercation with anybody. “At the appropriate time, when we resume on the floor we will speak At the appropriate time, when we resume on the floor we will speak”, he said.

“But I can assure you that they are all bunch of lies and there is nothing to it. So I am not going to waste my time responding to an issue I consider totally inconsequential.”
He made the statement in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, where he accused Jubrin of lying and attempting to blackmail him.
He said, “You can read the lines; he has actually lost his committee and I believe that is the issue. Why didn’t he make available these allegations all along? This is the question you need to answer. How come he was the one that addressed the issue of this budget on channels and he accused the Presidency and the executive in respect of issues that border on the budget. Today, he is singing a different tune, and I think he is good at singing different tunes anyway. So like I said, I am not going to go into any altercation with any person.

“I am not going to waste my time over that issue and what he has said are all lies and this kind of blackmail doesn’t work with the likes of Leo Ogor. So you see he is just wasting his time. I am expecting him to come and prove what he has said.”
Ado-Doguwa on his part said Jibrin failed as the Chairman of the committee and he messed up the budget. He said his poor handling of the committee and gross disrespect led to his sacking. He made the claim in an electronic mail sent to Punch.

He said, “For me, as an individual and having been mentioned in the sacked chairman’s claims, I would like to say with all sense of responsibility that what his claims were frivolous and unfounded.
“As a principal officer, I know that Jibrin was only relieved of his appointment due to widespread outcries and disenchantment among members of his committee for gross anomalies and absolute non-inclusion of members of his committee in the discharge of the duties of his erstwhile committee.

“His case was further worsened by sheer disrespect to the leadership (of the House) and even the generality of other members in the House. Other issues to do with grievous controversies that set the National Assembly against the Executive Arm (on the budget) were largely generated by Jibrin when he was superintending the affairs of this very vital committee.u
“These and so many other reasons warranted a very popular urge amongst members to remove him. Ultimately, the leadership was left with no option but to yield to the members’ demand.
“Other issues he raised on our attempt to ‘selfishly’ allocate funds to ourselves in the 2016- budget were also untrue. And his mischievous claims were borne out of his overzealous attempt to divert the public attention from the fact that he is the first in the history of the National Assembly that has woefully failed as a chairman of such an important committee in the parliament.”
According to a Punch report, members of the House of Representatives who are in support of Dogara claimed Jibrin jerked the 2016 budget up by N250bn, before submitting the final copy for passage. The members who opted for anonymity said Jibrin’s plan was blocked by Dogara and Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki.
One of them was quoted as saying : “The Senate President and the Speaker directed Jibrin to not only revert to original figure proposed by the President but also lower it by about N30bn because of expected drop in revenue…

“That was why the budget was not passed until the following Tuesday.”
 Jibrin was also accused of allocating N4.1bn to his constituency – Kiru/Bebeji Federal constituency of Kano State, meddling with reports of all standing committees on the budget by cutting10 per cent of all capital votes of all ministries, departments and agencies across board and also taking from the personnel budgets of some MDAs, making it difficult for them to pay workers’ salaries.

 The vice chairman, House of Representatives committee on downstream sector, Danlami Muhammad Kurfi who represents Dutsinma/Kurfi federal constituency of Katsina state also took time to tongue lash the former Chairman of appropriation.

 “Why did it take him this long to tell Mr President that the Speaker dines with his enemies?

“If this had happened while we were in session, some of us would have moved for his suspension.”

 Meanwhile, Hon. Jibrin speaking through his lawyers, Messrs Hammart & CO, Law Bond Solicitors and Doka Chambers, alleged in a statement that the four principal officers of the House intends to detain him so as to prevent him from expressing himself.

“We now have it on good authority that these quartet acting in concert are at the moment using some elements within the police to monitor, harass, intimidate and hound our client into an unwarranted detention with the purpose of inhibiting his right to move freely and to express himself as contained in Chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

“The purpose of their antics is to upturn the narrative and paint our client as the black sheep in the flock, and cleverly presenting themselves as transparent angels.
“Accordingly, we have made appropriate representations to the Inspector General of Police and other relevant security agencies in the Country drawing their attention to this unwarranted and ill-intentioned steps taken by these quartet and not to allow themselves (security agencies) to be used to execute the personal objectives of these quartet; more so appropriate legal action has been taken by our client, as a law abiding citizen, to protect his fundamental rights as guaranteed by our laws.

“The above quartet have resorted to blackmailing our Client into silence and to further harass his person and family using the instrument of the obstructive coercion and perversion of due process by deploying, albeit illegally some elements of the Nigeria Police.”
He also called for an investigation by the house, so as to prove himself.
“Finally, we hasten to advise Speaker Dogara and the 3 other principal officers mentioned here not to descend to the narrow aim of dragging the institution of the House of Representatives into their personal fight and to note that by virtue of the institution he leads and as a lawyer, he should act within the confines of the Rule of Law and allow the House of Representatives to institute a special investigation into this matter where our Client will have the opportunity earlier denied him by the quartet to testify and provide evidence against them BECAUSE he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.”
 Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, in his comment said Jubrin should have written to the anti-graft bodies if indeed he has proof of his allegation.

He said, “If the allegations made by Hon Jibrin, who instead of confronting the members of the house on these weighty allegations of the principal officers is anything to reckon with, then the ICPC and the EFCC should have been petitioned to investigate these principal officers rather than rush to grant a press conference and bring disdain to the leadership of the house.”

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