The Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, said on Monday that a former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, would not escape punishment for “bringing the image of the legislature into disrepute.”
Jibrin had accused the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, and three other principal officers of the House of padding the 2016 budget.
The other three are the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Lasun Yussuff; Ado-Doguwa and the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor.
Jibrin had demanded the resignation of Dogara to pave the way for an investigation into the allegations by anti-graft agencies.
On Sunday, the legislator again wrote the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, on the N40bn budget-padding allegations.
He had also gone to court to seek the protection of the judiciary over his belief that Dogara and 12 other members wanted to suspend him from the House.
The chief whip on Monday said Jibrin’s pronouncements were “misrepresentation of facts” to destroy the House and avenge his removal as a committee chairman.
Describing Jibrin as a “coward,” Ado-Doguwa, who is from Kano State as Jibrin, added that his colleague had violated the rules of the House and must be punished.
He said, “His rushing to court is sheer cowardice and an act of escapism. Jibrin’s legal strategy is to deploy a judicial instrument to protect himself against possible sanctions from the House over his baseless and fictitious allegations to defame and destroy our integrity in the eyes of the Nigerian public.
“He has also succeeded in subjecting the National Assembly to disrepute and institutional damage, which apparently contravened our internal standing rules and specifically, sections 24 and 33 of the Legislatives Houses Powers and Privileges Act.
“These clear violations of our internal code of legislative conduct must attract legislative sanctions against Jibrin.
“Nigerians should know that the statements and pronouncements made by Jibrin were mere misrepresentation of facts.
“Having realised that he is already consumed, he is now resorting to the court options, (in)which I believe he will lose out as well.”
The chief whip also threatened to sue Jibrin in his personal capacity after the House would have taken a position on him.
Jibrin did not respond to enquiries by The PUNCH on Monday to react to Ado-Doguwa’s comments.
Instead, he issued a statement, making additional allegations against Dogara, saying the Speaker was making massive withdrawal of funds to offer to members to fight him.
“I also heard on good authority that a close associate of Dogara, who is the Chief Executive of a well-known Federal Government agency, has been approaching members with offer of money to support the Speaker,” Jibrin added in the statement.
Jibrin, who disclosed that he wrote the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption on Monday “requesting an appointment to make a detailed presentation on all the allegations that constitute Dogara-gate”, added that in the coming days, he would comprehensively brief the diplomatic community as well.
“I have commenced briefing the diplomatic community and will in the next few days provide a comprehensive briefing to the British High Commission and the American, French and German embassies.
“The utterances of Speaker Dogara in the last few days, like his public pronouncement that padding is not an offence, have clearly confirmed my innocence.
“I have, therefore, petitioned the Public Complaints Commission and the National Human Rights Commission to enforce and protect my fundamental human rights,’’ he added.
The speaker’s office said it had made sufficient responses to Jibrin’s allegations, when The PUNCH contacted the office.
“Please, refer to our earlier responses,” his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Turaki Hassan, replied on Monday.
However, a member of the Transparency Group in the House, Mr. Baballe Bashir, told The PUNCH that the question of whether to punish Jibrin would be decided by the House after “he has faced the Committee on Ethics and Privileges.”
Under the rules of the House, Jibrin may face suspension of up to six months in the first instance, but the Speaker is empowered to “extend the period” of the suspension.
APC is hallucinating – Omisore
A former Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Chief Iyiola Omisore, has denied the allegation that he was a godfather to Dogara.
Omisore, who also denied the allegation of administering oaths on House of Reps committee chairmen, said the allegations showed that the APC was hallucinating.
A text by Omisore to one of our correspondent said, “Me, godfather? A PDP chieftain godfathering an APC Speaker? It must be hallucinations.”
The former deputy governor of Osun State maintained that there was no truth in the allegations because there was “no nexus in the concoction,” adding, “Please, don’t drag my name into the Reps crisis because I know nothing about the House of Representatives; PDP is in the minority in the House of Reps.”
Jibrin, in a letter to Odigie-Oyegunon Sunday, had claimed that Omisore was Dogara’s godfather, among other allegations.