Appropriation committee members disown Jibrin

image

FILE PHOTO – Members of the House of
Representatives at plenary

John Ameh, Abuja

Members of the House of Representatives
Committee on Appropriation have disowned the
committee’s former Chairman, Mr. Abdulmumin
Jibrin.

The members said that Jibrin’s “budget padding”
allegations against the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu
Dogara, and three other principal officers did not
reflect the position of the Committee on
Appropriation.
The other three are the Deputy Speaker, Mr.
Yussuff Lasun; the Chief Whip, Mr. Alhassan Ado-
Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor.

The Deputy Chairman of the committee, Mr. Chris
Azubuogu, had led eight other members of the
committee to a news briefing at the National
Assembly on Friday to disown Jibrin.
Azubuogu served as deputy to Jibrin and still
serves as the deputy chairman.
They stated that as chairman, Jibrin mostly worked
alone and did not carry members of the committee
along.
Azubuogu said, “As members of the Committee on
Appropriation, we want to state that the ousted
chairman’s action does not in any way reflect the
position of the committee.
“He had constantly allotted all the actions and
decisions of the committee to himself without
conferring with the members.
“We wish to state that we totally disassociate
ourselves from all the calculated plots to pull down
the integrity of the leadership and members of the
8th House of Representatives”,
The lawmakers claimed that Jibrin hired the
services of a consultant to work on the budget
alone and did not brief members on the details of
the 2016 budget.”
They added that Jibrin only surfaced with the
budget after he had been in hiding from members
for about three weeks.
The committee members explained, “For the
avoidance of doubt, we wish to state that a
comprehensive collation of the reports of the
budget from the various standing committees of
the House was done by the Appropriation
Committee, which was in the process of
deliberation when the ousted chairman unilaterally
hijacked the entire budget to a hideout with his
consultant without the consent of the committee.
“That was the last time the committee saw the
budget, only for Jibrin to resurface about three
weeks later, with a report purported to have come
from the committee.”
Speaking further, Azubuogu said members reported
Jibrin to Dogara, demanding that he should be
removed from office.
He claimed that though Dogara opted to resolve
the issue amicably, the Speaker was compelled to
remove Jibrin after the entire House became
unhappy with the former chairman’s “usual
recalcitrant” attitude.
“In response to this demand by members, Mr.
Speaker had no choice than to act accordingly in
order to maintain the integrity of the whole House.
“We also wish to state for clarity that there is no
offence known to law in Nigeria as budget padding,
otherwise the entire work of appropriation in the
past and in the future will amount to nothing.
“The entire essence of treating a budget would
have been unnecessary in the first instance if the
National Assembly has no powers over it.”
But, in his reaction, Jibrin made more allegations,
including accusing the nine members of the
committee, who disowned him, of taking $20,000
each to do a dirty job for Dogara.
He also said there were 40 members of the
committee, asking why the 31 others did not side
with the nine.
Jibrin claimed that his former committee members
told a “bunch of lies.”
He added, “First, only nine out of the 40
Appropriation Committee members agreed to
participate in such a press conference after
shamelessly collecting $20,000 each, distributed to
them yesterday at the Speaker’s residence by his
Deputy Chief of Staff, Cyril Maduabum.”
Jibrin also accused Azubuogu, of requesting “111”
projects to be included in the budget, which he
turned down.
He explained that his period of absence from the
committee members was because the Speaker
took hold of the budget to make insertions before
returning it to him.
Jibrin alleged further that throughout the period his
deputy claimed he (Jibrin) was in hiding with the
budget, Azubuogu was indeed coming to his
house to eat vegetable soup.
He provided what seemed a comic relief, saying,
“It is also a blatant lie that I disappeared. I was
always at home since we were on a short break.
“Even more shocking is the fact that Azubuogu,
who was regularly at my home during that period
and always enjoying his favourite wheat and
vegetable soup, can go on national TV for a price
of $20,000 to tell such shameful lies. Well, CCTVs
don’t tell lies.”
Jibrin had alleged on Thursday last week that the
four principal officers requested the inclusion of
N40bn projects in the 2016 budget, besides sundry
projects in sums ranging from N20bn to N30.
He claimed that his refusal to oblige the four
principal officers and his opposition to commit
several financial infractions was responsible for his
sacking by Dogara on Wednesday, last week.
The four principal officers had denied the
allegations. On Wednesday, the speaker had
threatened to take legal actions against Jibrin if he
did not retract his “libelous” allegations within
seven days with an apology.

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