Padding Scandal: Jibrin Defies APC, Says Two Governors Working To Save Dogara


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Budget Padding Scandal: Jibrin defies
APC’s gag order, says two governors
working to rescue Dogara
A defiant former chairman of the
House Committee on Appropriation,
Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Sunday said he had identified two governors working
to shield Speaker Yakubu Dogara from
prosecution over the budget padding
scandal rocking the lower legislative
chamber.
He also vowed not to withdraw his corruption charges against the
Speaker, saying they were too
grievous to be swept under the carpet.
Mr. Jibrin returned with his attacks
after briefly complying with a gag
order issued by the APC on Thursday —barely three days ago— indicating
that the fragile accord may have
broken down.
Mr. Jibrin’s said a tentative truce
prevailing on all parties to restrain
from further engaging in “media war” had been breached by Mr. Dogara’s
frequent public utterances, adding
that the Speaker and his supporters
had continued to disparaged him in
the media.
Although Mr. Jibrin largely complied with the order, refraining from
personally commenting on the scandal
on Friday and Saturday, a group in the
House, opposed to the Speaker, issued
a statement.
Transparency Group, which styled itself as forum of 206 anti-corruption
lawmakers, came down hard on Mr.
Dogara, levelling fraud charges
against him and demanding his
resignation.
Mr. Jibrin had since July 21, a day after he was removed as Chairman of House
Committee on Appropriation, levelled
several allegations against Mr. Dogara
and more than a dozen other
lawmakers, saying they fraudulently
padded the budget to the tune of N40 billion.
Mr. Dogara and the lawmakers denied
the allegations.
In a lengthy statement he emailed to
PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday evening, Mr.
Jibrin said he had informed party leaders that he would not continue to
take the high road and watch Mr.
Dogara ridicule the party’s resolution
by scaling up vicious political and
media attacks against him, adding that
he had warned the party of the consequences of “keeping a sealed
lip” on the development.
“I called Sen. Lawal Shuaibu and
complained on Thursday, Friday and
Sunday. He promised to reach the
Speaker. On Friday the Speaker spoke to the press after meeting the
president on the matter, and they
launched a massive attack on me on
Saturday and today Sunday in the
media, while the party is keeping a
sealed lip,” Mr. Jibrin said. “Nobody will blame me that I
responded.”
Although Mr. Jibrin used his latest
statement to debunk claims that his
allegations were against the executive
or the National Assembly as a whole — the House and the Senate— he
nonetheless introduced new
characters into the battle.
The unnamed individuals, Mr. Jibrin
said, included two serving governors
and three ex-lawmakers, who he said were working hard at shielding Mr.
Dogara and covering up the scandal.
Two governors, three ex-lawmakers
as mercenaries
Mr. Jibrin said a grand cover-up plan
by Mr. Dogara; his deputy Yusuf Lasun; House Whip Alhassan Doguwa;
Minority Whip, Leo Ogor, and the nine
other lawmakers he had previously
accused was being executed by a
team that allegedly included two
governors and three lawmakers he said he would name in earnest.
“Surprisingly, they have resorted to
using every tactics to narrow the
allegations to only issue of padding,
which in itself is a grievous offense,
ignoring tens of other criminal allegations contained in my petition to
the anti-corruption agencies. In doing
so, they mischievously expanded the
scope of the culpability to give an
impression that the entire House,
Senate and even the Executive arm of government and some individuals
outside NASS are on trial.
“This is a wicked attempt to drag many
institutions and individuals into the
matter to neutralize the issue, spread
fear and sell the dummy that the entire country will go down if this matter is
dealt with decisively.
“This is the biggest blackmail I have
ever seen. Nigerians should know that
the whole agenda of this blackmail is
being coordinated by a group of five people, two serving governors and
three former members of the House. I
will give their names in due course,”
Mr. Jibrin said.
According to Mr. Jibril, other activities
the five individuals recently embarked upon for Mr. Dogara and others
included providing “soft-landing for
them, give them time to clean up the
mess on their desk, destroy whatever
evidence in their possession and
reach, spread money across members to buy signature of vote of confidence,
try to scare and drag as many people
as they can into this matter.”
Mr. Jibrin said the individuals allegedly
planned to carry out for Mr. Dogara the
task of invading “the party and top government officials and influential
people that have the ears of the
president and try to change the media
and public narrative by embarking on
very expensive media campaign to
discredit and attack my person with all manner of lies they can concoct.”
‘New allegations, more insight’
Other than the multi-billion naira fraud
he said Mr. Dogara allegedly oversaw
during the budget vetting process, Mr.
Jibrin said new evidence of hitherto unknown sharp practices by the
Speaker had been allegedly
uncovered, calling on anti-graft
agencies to commence immediate
investigation.
“Let me make further revelations here. In addition to the allegations I already
made, the anti-corruption agencies
should ask Speaker Dogara why on
earth he collects 25million naira every
month just to spend it the way he
wants. “They should also ask him to provide
proof of how he is funding his farm in
Nasarawa State which was just few
hectares six months ago and now
miraculously expands to about 100
hectares with new buildings and state- of-the-art equipment worth millions as
well as the mansion he has suddenly
built in Wuse II within six months,” Mr.
Jibrin said.
Mr. Jibrin reiterated his position that
the Senate must be absolved of any wrongdoing in the scandal, saying
budgeting responsibilities rested
chiefly with the House.
“It will be unfair to drag the Senate or
senators into this matter. Everybody
knows that it is the House that has commanding powers over
appropriation. There is nothing in the
senate appropriation committee
secretariat, that is why I requested the
protection of only that of the House
when I heard Dogara was planning to destroy the computers and the
hardware.
“The Senate president was too busy
then to even get involved. He was
always receiving what I later realized
was skeletal briefing from the Speaker. It is also a strong tradition of the
National Assembly that in an event of
disagreement between standing
committee of the Senate and the
House, that of the House supersedes.
“That was exactly what we did on 2016 budget except that of Health,
where we adopted the report of the
Senate because the chairman House
Committee on Health practically
converted the budget to his personal
estate, moving massive amount of money that made the whole exercise
looked like a big joke,” Mr. Jibrin said.
The ‘dangerous’ quintet
Mr. Jibrin said security agencies and
others concerned should be wary of
the two governors and three ex- lawmakers allegedly working to save
Mr. Dogara because of their bad
tendencies, and offered suggestions
about how they could be contained.
“We may never have this kind of
opportunity to deal decisively with corruption in the House. We may
never! If you observe carefully, you
will notice attempts last week to
wickedly drag the Senate, DSS, SGF and
others into this matter. This is all
orchestrated by the group of two governors, three former members and
Speaker Dogara and his corrupt cabal.
“Nobody is in a better position than
me to know who the culprits are. The
next time you see them in your offices
trying to blackmail you that these allegations will bring down the whole
country, report them to the police
immediately. These allegations are on
Speaker Dogara and 12 others and
will not in anyway bring down the
House, the Senate or the executive arm of government as they are
claiming in their widely spread
propaganda,” Mr. Jibrin said.
Vote of confidence, death threats and
the case for outside intervention
Mr. Jibrin said he stood by his allegations that Mr. Dogara bribed
lawmakers to secure a vote of
confidence in order to perpetuate
himself in office despite growing calls
for his resignation. He also repeated
claims that his life was in danger, saying Mr. Dogara and others were out
to “kill” him because of their “vested
interest.”
“It is a fact that all the members that
signed for Dogara’s vote of confidence
collected money in a shameful and disgraceful exercise, and despite that
the consensus remains the Speaker
must step aside and face external
investigation,” he said.
“I believe Speaker Dogara, the 12
others and some vested interest within and outside the House want to kill me.
I no longer feel safe. I have carefully
followed their desperation to suppress
what will go down in history as the
biggest corruption case in Nigeria. I
have prepared myself for any eventuality. I have spoken to my mum
and dad extensively during the
weekend. I have prepared my family. I
have handed over a handwritten note
and documents to a popular SAN, a
man of integrity and other persons that I believe will lay it bare even if
they succeed in killing me.”
In his parting shot, Mr. Jibrin said
former Nigerian leaders, elder
statesmen and even foreign diplomats
should weigh in on the matter and mount pressure on Mr. Dogara to
reopen the House, saying he had been
denied access to Mr. Buhari.
“Finally, this cabal of two governors
and three former members have
blocked every avenue that I can use to reach the President so that he can get
a different perspective on this issue.
Iam therefore left with no choice than
to plead with all our former Heads of
State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen.
Olusegun Obasanjo, Alh. Shehu Shagari, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, Chief
Enest Shonekan, Gen. Abdulsalam
Abubakar and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan
and the diplomatic community,
particularly Ambassador of the United
States of America, High Commissioner of the United Kingdom, the German
and French Ambassadors and all well-
meaning Nigerians to join in the call on
the corrupt and fraudulent Speaker
Dogara and 3 others to reconvene the
House immediately, step aside and allow for a thorough external
investigation and also call on the anti-
corruption agencies to expedite action
on investigation and commencement
of prosecution in line with the anti
corruption stands of this government,” Mr. Jibrin said.
Mr. Dogara’s spokesman, Turaki
Hassan, did not respond to PREMIUM
TIMES’ calls and text messages seeking
comments for this story.