Says reports embarrassing Party, Govt
Ongoing budget padding saga in the National Assembly took a new twist yesterday as the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress, APC, has banned embattled former chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Hon Abdulmunin Jibrin, from making any further statement on the issue.
The gagging order was contained in a letter to Hon Jubrin signed on behalf of APC by its deputy national chairman (north, Alhaji Lawal Shuaibu.
Apart from directing Jubrin to stop levelling furtherallegations against the leadership of the lower chamber in public through press statements, he was also directed not to comment on the issue through the social media or any other means of disseminating information.
Part of the letter read: “As you are aware, the party and, indeed, the government, have not been happy over the recent development in the House of Representatives over the issue of the 2016 budget. We found it embarrassing to have to deal with another new phenomenon you tagged ‘budget padding.’
“Arising from the series of meetings we held with you over the subject matter, the National Working Committee has decided to request you to henceforth avoid issuing any public statement on this matter. This includes statements through social media or other means of transmitting an opinion on the matter to the public, as the party is now looking into it towards finding possible solution.”
Following the July 21 allegation of budget padding against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three other leaders of the House, Jibrin was quizzed by the APC national leaders for about three hours on Tuesday.
His interrogation followed a petition he submitted to the EFCC and ICPC on Monday.
On Wednesday, he alleged that the speaker was bribing members of the lower chamber with $25, 000 each to procure vote of confidence.
In a related development, the U.K chapter of the Nigerians In the Diaspora Monitoring Group has said speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara deserved commendation for sacking the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, after it emerged that he manipulated the national budget.
The group also lashed out at Jibrin, saying his actions since his sack had become an embarrassment to the country in the comity of nations.
In an electronic message to journalists, UK representative of the group, Adeka Onyila said it was sad that at a time when parliaments of other nations were exploring ways to protect their economies from the global slowdown, “our lawmakers are robbing the populace in the name of working on the budget.”
He accused Jibrin of attacking the leadership of the House as a form of defence, but warned that such antics had failed as Nigerians were now wiser.
He said, “Instead of showing remorse as one would expect in 2016 Nigeria, he went on denial – first he claimed he resigned and not sacked – only for him to turn around and start making spurious accusations against others.
“We hereby call on members of the House of Representatives, the disgruntled ones, to stop giving Nigeria a bad name abroad. We say this because we have observed with alarm that some of them are lining up behind Jibrin to back him against the House leadership when he should be censured. Such ridiculous support could only be driven by a desire to make political gains out of the lies cooked up by Jibrin to save his hide.”
“We rather demand that the speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara should be commended for triggering the anti-corruption fight in the National Assembly and having the political will to challenge the status quo, by relieving the former Appropriation chairman of his post. Hon. Dogara deserves an award for sacking Jibrin since it is now clear that the action he took against his colleague saved the parliament and the ailing Nigerian economy from total collapse that would have been caused by global reaction to a country that would appear not to be interested in tackling graft.”
The Nigerians in Diaspora Monitoring Group urged the people of Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency of Kano State to immediately commence the recall of Jibrin in the spirit of joining the fight against corruption.
He said without looking closely, they could easily see that instead of representing them in line with the mandate they gave him, he has built for himself a life of living above his means.
He said, “All his gimmick of claiming he resigned as opposed to being sacked. His inglorious petitions to anti-corruption agencies and the barrage of media propaganda are merely his own idea of acting fast to gain the sympathy of constituents and to avoid possible arrest with the consequent prosecution.”
The group wondered why Jibrin would be the one petitioning the anti-corruption agencies, saying he must withdraw his so-called petitions to the EFCC and the DSS so that neutral NGOs or lawmakers without vested interests would be the ones to initiate the demand for investigation.