The struggle has just begun – Jibrin tells Dogara

Former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has stated that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, used legislative tricks to save himself by not allowing the budget padding allegations to be debated by members.

Declaring that he would not appear before any House committee except its hearing is made public; he asserted that “the struggle has just begun”.

Recall that the House had on Wednesday descended into a rowdy session where it passed a motion to investigate the breach of members’ privileges as a result of recent allegations made by the ousted chairman.

The motion, moved by Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Oker-Jev, said the lower chamber had come under “heavy attack” following the allegations.

Jibrin is to appear before the Ethics and Privileges committee, which would investigate him and make recommendations to the House; if found guilty by the committee, the embattled lawmaker risks six months suspension.

He said in a statement, “Rather than open up the matter for discussion in view of the public interest it has generated and allow me to brief my colleagues, an opportunity I have been denied for several months, Mr speaker deployed some legislative tricks and theatrics to save the day.

“In a move that smacks of abuse of process, Speaker Dogara granted under point of order, an opportunity to the chairman of business and rules committee, who started with a speech then suddenly transited to a motion under privilege — a clear case of manipulation and gross abuse of the house rule.

“This is the easiest resort since the attempts to secure a vote of confidence had woefully failed.

“But what happened on the floor of the House today is just the end of another beginning. I have never lived with the illusion that this matter will be a sprint, knowing the deeply-rooted corrupt interest of a few cabal in the House, headed by Speaker Dogara.

“I have all the stamina and agility to go the marathon and ensure justice is served. Despite all these and since I can substantiate the allegations I raised with cogency, I will take up the opportunity provided by the Ethics committee to state my case under the condition that the hearing will be public and will allow the Press, CSOs, NGOs, NLC, ASUU, NANS, NBA and the general public to witness the entire proceedings.

“Predictably, in his speech, Mr. Speaker tried to drag the entire House into the matter to give the impression that the entire House is the accused. I wish to state for the umpteenth times that the allegations I raised are against the quartet of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and few other members — not the honourable house as an institution.

“The bad news for Nigerians is that in the face of such grievous allegations against the Speaker, which members are aware of, and his decision to sit tight, he has become a lame duck Speaker. But even more painfully is the fact that we will continue to call, though in the short run, such fraudulent and corrupt persons in Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa and Ogor number 4 citizen and principal officers of the House respectively.

“Let me use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that the struggle has just begun.”

Budget Padding Scandal: Police Invite Dogara, Others.

Acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, has raised a five-man special team to probe the alleged padding of the budget by House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and some of his principal officers.

 

The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Amodu Ali-led Special Investigative Panel (SIP) has invited Dogara, his deputy Yusuff Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor to appear before it on Friday.

 

The panel Tuesday had what was called “a preliminary session” with ousted House Committee on Appropriations chairman Abdulmumin Jibrin, who accused Dogara and others of padding the budget with N284 billion.

 

Last Monday, Jibrin petitioned the police, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies over the matter.

 

Jibrin was said to have “furnished the SIP with vital information and a heap of documents” at their meeting yesterday.

 

A highly-placed police source, who spoke in confidence, said Ibrahim has directed the SIP to conduct a “comprehensive investigation into Jibrin’s petition.”

 

We have commenced full investigation into the N284billion budget padding in the House of Representatives based on a petition from Hon. Jibrin.

 

A Special Investigative Panel (SIP), with a crack detective, AIG Amodu Ali as the chairman, is the one saddled with the responsibility of looking into the allegations in the petition.

 

The same Ali uncovered the lid on the $620,000 bribery scam in the House for which a former Chairman of the House Committee on Fuel Subsidy Management, Mallam Farouk Lawan, and the Clerk of the committee, Mr. Boniface Emenalo were indicted. The case is in court.

 

You will recall that Ali was deeply involved in the investigation of the $180million Halliburton scam. So, the SIP is led by an officer who is tested.

 

Asked of the preliminary work done by the SIP, the source added: “As I am talking to you (4pm yesterday), a letter of invitation has been addressed and sent to the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Chief Whip and the Minority Leader.

 

“They will be interrogated by the SIP on Friday. As a prelude to the invitation of the principal officers, the SIP chairman and members had a session with Jibrin on Tuesday.

 

“It was not a grilling session. But Jibrin furnished the team with vital information and a heap of documents to back up the petition he submitted on Monday.

 

We are going into the merit or otherwise of the petition on Friday by inviting Dogara and three others. It is going to be a gradual thing but we will crack the padding controversy.

 

Jibrin confirmed on Tuesday that security has been beefed up around him by the Department of State Service (DSS) and the police.

 

He also asked the All Progressives Congress (APC) to prevail on Dogara to reconvene the House and step aside to face prosecution for alleged budget padding.

 

Jibrin, in a message on his Twitter handle, said: “My attention has been drawn to media reports that I have been summoned to appear before a disciplinary committee of our great party.

 

That I received a letter yesterday evening (Monday) inviting me to a meeting in respect of the crisis in the House on Tuesday (yesterday) by 2pm at the party’s office.”

 

“The letter did not in any way indicate it as a disciplinary committee. And I have responded that I will attend the meeting despite my tight schedules shuttling between security and anti-corruption agencies to provide support and evidence against Speaker Dogara and nine others.”

 

I am confident that the party will do the right thing by throwing its weight to support our resolve to wipe out corruption in the House and direct Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority Leader Ogor to reconvene the House immediately and step down to face imminent prosecution and save the party and our dear country from further embarrassment.