Budget Saga: Dogara, Lasun, Others Demanded N40billion – Sacked Appropriation C’ttee Chairman | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Budget Saga: Dogara, Lasun, Others Demanded N40billion – Sacked Appropriation C’ttee Chairman

SERAP
Posted: Jul 21, 2016 at 9:19 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

AHMED MUSA

ABUJA

Following his removal by the leadership of the House as chairman House Committee on Appropriation on Wednesday, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin has alleged that presiding and some principal officers of the House sought to use him as a scapegoat due to his opposition to its plan to corner the sum of N40billion to themselves in the 2016 budget.

Jibrin made the allegation in a statement he issued on Thursday evening wherein he named the House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, his Deputy, Sulaiman Yussuff Lasun, the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor and the Majority Whip, Alhassan Garba Ado Doguwa as those who demanded that N40billion out of the N100billion allocated to the National Assembly for constituency projects be cornered for them.

He said: “I strongly believe with every conviction that in cleaning up the budget system and considering what transpired during 2016 budget which I have all the facts documented, Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and minority Leader Leo Ogor should resign”.

“These members of the body of principal officers were not comfortable with my independent disposition and my refusal to cover up their unilateral decision to allocate to themselves 40billion naira out of the 100billion allocated to the entire National Assembly. The four of them met and took that decision. In addition to billions of wasteful projects running over 20billion they allocated to their constituencies. They must come out clean.

“My inability to admit into the budget almost 30billion personal requests from Mr. Speaker and the three other principal officers also became an issue. I wish I could but where will I get such money in a tight budget year like this? I have every documented evidence to this effect.

“After the submission of the first version of the budget which was returned by Mr. President, I briefed members in executive session and told them as agreed at our pre budget meeting with chairmen and deputy chairmen of standing committees, we simply adopted their reports with little amendments. No body faulted my submission. Members insisted they must know how the 100billion was allocated. I told them the truth.

“Since after that meeting, Mr. Speaker with the support of the three other principal officers effectively blocked me from briefing members, ensured I was not at the last executive session and refused to investigate issues I raised that I believe must be addressed if we intend to build a better budget system for the House,” he said.

He added saying that his opposition to their demand coupled with his anti immunity stance made matters worse as relationship between himself and the accused principals officers became sour as they sought to humiliate him before the recess.

 

?”My offence was asserting my independence and insisting we do the right thing at all times and expose corrupt people in the house. Lately I openly disagree with some principal officers on the issue of immunity and budget issues. I still maintained I will never support immunity.

“The plan is to execute it just before the recess so that by the time we return I have been buried and the issue forgotten. Mr. Speaker, this issue will never be swept under the carpet. We are closing for recess with it and we shall commence the next session with this issue. This was the last option they have after every attempt to find something to nail me failed. I am a very blunt person by nature. I don’t know how to pretend. I don’t do eye service neither will I ever be a sycophant. I don’t give returns. I just do my job dedicatedly”, Jibrin further alleged.

Revealing further, he said: “I gave Mr. speaker statistics of 2000 new projects introduced into the budget by less than 10 committee chairmen without the knowledge of their committee members, he did nothing about it because he was part of the mess, yet he is talking about improving the budget system. I did nothing wrong. I worked within the rules of the House and instructions of Mr. speaker.

“During the budget period, Mr. President graciously granted myself and Sen. Goje audience. It was a very good meeting. Speaker Dogara took it extremely personal that we saw the president without his knowledge and went on to scuttled all our efforts to help the President during the budget process because he wants to be seen by the president as the only good man”, he added.

However, the House leadership in a reaction to Jibrin’s statement denied all the allegations, describing them as “blatant lies of a sour loser”.

The leadership in a statement issued the House Spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas stated that Hon. Jibrin’s invectives stemmed from the fact the Speaker exercised his powers to appoint and remove committee chairmen whenever deemed necessary.

The statement read: “We wish to say that it is the prerogative of the Selection Committee of the House to appoint and remove Committee Chairmen. That power has been so exercised in the case of Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin as chairman of Appropriation Committee”.

“Most of the allegations on the 2016 budget process and his opposition to immunity of Presiding officers are non issues and mere after-though manufactured simply because the House relieved him of his position.

“If he had all these ‘facts’ before ,why didn’t he make them public? Why is he doing that now?

“Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, like any other member of the House knows that there are conventions and precedents as it relates to budgets and projects for principal officers of the National Assembly . Why is he making it an issue now? In any case, he is entitled to his opinion as a Nigerian and as a legislator while acting within the laws of Nigeria and rules of the House.

“We must make it abundantly clear that he was not removed because of his support or otherwise on immunity bill. After all he is not the only one who opposed the bill.

?”The bill is still pending before committee on review of constitution and it has to be voted upon by each and every member of the House, get Senate concurrence, endorsed by two-third of the 36 State Houses of Assembly and be assented to by the President. It is a cheap blackmail on the part of Hon. Jibrin to even insinuate that he was removed because he opposed immunity bill”, the House said.

It however urged the lawmaker not distract the House from giving legislative support on important issues facing the government concerning the revival of the economy, insecurity in the country, pursuit of anti-corruption measures, poverty alleviation, infrastructural development.

“The Nigerian people are simply not ready to waste their time on personal issues and personal egos of our leaders. We should face the urgent tasks before us for which we were elected”, the House added.

Recall that Hon. Jibrin was accused of padding the 2016 budget in projects worth over N4billion, which he allegedly cornered to constituency of Kano State.

The development has led to frosty relationship between himself and many other lawmakers who openly demanded for his sack by the House leadership, to the extent of calling him a thief on the floor of the House.