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HomeNewsDogara/Jibrin Feud Gets Messier… As Jibrin claims Speaker Collected bribes from agencies...

Dogara/Jibrin Feud Gets Messier… As Jibrin claims Speaker Collected bribes from agencies & multinationals Apologise or face legal action- DogaraI

 

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Cover Yakunu dogara

That Abdulmumin Jibrin, the chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, one of the Committees considered to be ‘juicy was relieved of the position by the Speaker, House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, is no longer news. What is perhaps making the rounds is the can of worms opened by the  latter who was one of  the members believed to be one of his closest loyalists in the green chamber,

Jibrin played a key role in the emergence of Dogara as Speaker, helping him to mobilize members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP against strong challenge from Femi Gbajabiamila, the All Progressive Congress, APC favourite for the position.

The subsequent appointment of Jibrin as chairman of the House Appropriation Committee by Dogara was believed to be a reward for his efforts.

So, how did the once blissful relationship between the duo went sour?

National WAVES gathered that Jibrin who represents Bebeji/Kiru federal constituency of Kano State and also the chairman of the committee on Finance in the 7th House of Representatives was sacked by Dogara on account of irreconcilable differences.

Dogara did not waste time in announcing Mustapha Dawaki Bala representing Kudu/Warawa federal constituency of Kano state as the new chairman of the House Appropriation Committee.

But in a statement that seem to have a political undertone, Dogara had told members that Jibrin met him earlier and said he cannot continue to chair the Appropriation Committee due to “pressure of the work,” hence the announcement of his replacement.

As chairman of Appropriation Committee, Jibrin ran into controversies during the National Assembly’s work on the 2016 Budget as he was accused of padding the document with projects worth over N4 billion domiciled in his Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency.

This was in addition to another surreptitious allocation of N40 billion worth of projects to the leaderships of the Appropriations Committees of both chambers of the National Assembly.

President Muhammadu Buhari had refused to sign the budget until most of the padding was removed with the help of a 15 member harmonisation Committee set up by the National Assembly.

The scandal had led to calls for removal of Jibrin as the Chairman of the Appropriation Committee.

Many believed Jibrin’s resignation was a fallout of the of the budget scandal.

The Kano lawmaker agreed that there was indeed a problem with which the way the 2016 budget was handled in his press conference on Wednesday, but he insisted that his resignation was a personal decision.

While insisting that he has done no wrong, the lawmaker promised to reveal what  transpired during the consideration of the 2016 budget later, “so that we can also learn collectively and see how we can move the system forward.”

Jibrin insisted that he did his best as the Chairman Appropriations Committee, challenging anybody with a contrary view to come forward with evidence:  “And as it is until date, nobody has raised any issue against me.

The Kano lawmaker had also strongly opposed the proposal to grant immunity to presiding officers of National Assembly when it was debated in the House last week.

He even displayed placard with the inscription “No to immunity” at the National Assembly

In a bid to fight back, Jibrin alleged that Speaker Yakubu Dogara perpetrated a massive shakedown of administrators of government agencies and multinational firms operating in the country.

The revelations, which are the latest in a series of similar ones from Mr. Jibrin in recent days, marked strong indications that the fallout from the budget padding scandal may be far from over.

Mr. Jibrin took the scandal and his battle against Mr. Dogara to the media after the Speaker announced his departure in a statement on the floor of the House on allegations that the Kano State lawmaker serially betrayed the trust reposed in him by the House leadership and his colleagues.

But Mr. Jibrin repeatedly denied that he committed treachery or that he was fired, saying he had earlier informed the Speaker of his intention to step down.

Mr. Jibrin said Mr. Dogara had repeatedly victimised him for being an independent voice in the lower chamber, saying he would work to ensure that the Speaker either resigns or is disgraced from office.

To achieve his aim, Mr. Jibrin said he would reveal to Nigerians all the corrupt practices involving Mr. Dogara, which he said were well documented.

In the latest attacks, Mr. Jibrin said the fraudulent tendencies of Mr. Dogara and some other House principal officers had become so pervasive that President Buhari would not hesitate to isolate and investigate them if he were to be briefed about them.

“Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his senior cabal namely Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority leader Ogor have promoted corruption so badly in the House that if President Muhammadu Buhari with his disdain for corruption and corrupt people has the slightest idea, he will ban the quartet permanently from the Villa before they eventually allow for proper and unbiased investigation by the House,” Mr. Jibrin said.

Mr. Jibrin detailed how Mr. Dogara and others allegedly diverted funds meant for legislative functions to service their guest houses and official apartments, saying the Speaker was once engaged in an open brawl with a lawmaker over the matter.

“Mr. Speaker and Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun diverted millions of naira all in the name of paying for guest houses and official residence,” the lawmaker said. “The issue became so messy that the Deputy Speaker openly accused Hon Herma Hembe of short changing them of millions of naira in the deal to the shock of many Hon Members.”

Also revealed about Mr. Dogara were details of how he allegedly blackmailed government agencies and multinational companies into succumbing to his demands for financial and material gratification, in a clear case of conflict of interest, Mr. Jibrin said.

“Speaker Yakubu Dogara frequently abuses his office amounting to conflict of interest by soliciting for inappropriate favours from agencies and Multinational companies. He forced an agency to grant loans and a construction company blackmailed to do some work at his Asokoro ‘plot’.”

Mr. Jibrin said Mr. Dogara devised a means of shaving funds from lawmakers’ salaries into his pocket on the premise of putting a mortgage system in place for members.

Mr. Jibrin said, Mr. Dogara “runs the financial management of the House like a cult aided and abated by the Chairman House services Hon. Babanlle Ila. It is no longer news that all over the House, Hon Members are aware of the monumental fraud perpetrated by Speaker Yakubu Dogara in this regard.”

Mr. Ila’s mention in the allegations marked the first time Mr. Jibrin would introduce another lawmaker to the controversy that was not in the initial quartet.

“We are even told that this is a child’s play compared to the mess and allegations of money laundering he left behind as Chairman, House Services in both the 6th and 7th Assembly. The EFCC should have something to start working with in respect to his tenure as Chairman House Services if they properly dust their files,” Mr. Jibrin said.

Mr. Jibrin also revealed another first in his statement today, a call for lawmakers to commence thorough investigation into the allegations against the Speaker and others.

“I am therefore once again calling on honourable colleagues and well meaning Nigerians to prevail on Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his three other cohorts to put the interest of country first and allow the House to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations on them.”

This is the first time Mr. Jibrin would support a House investigation.

He used his previous statements to prevail on Mr. Dogara to allow EFCC and other relevant agencies conduct detailed investigations of all allegations arising from the budget padding scandal.

Civil society groups have also called for thorough investigation.

In separate interviews with the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Transition Monitoring Group, and the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, said only a thorough inquiry into the alleged sharp practices would unravel the circumstances under which they were perpetrated.

The feud between the Speaker Dogara and his former ally took a very interesting turn when Dogara, gave a seven day ultimatum to Jibrin to tender an unreserved apology to him and retract all allegations made against him or face legal action.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs to the Speaker, Mr. Turaki Hassan, stated that the demand was contained in a letter written and addressed to Jibrin by counsel to Dogara, Professor Joash Ojo Amupitan (SAN) & Co. It was signed By Professor Joash Amupitan, SAN, who is the Principal Partner of the firm.

The letter, entitled, ‘REQUEST FOR A RETRACTION AND AN APOLOGY OF A LIBELOUS PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED BY YOU ON MONDAY 25TH JULY, 2016’, noted that the claims of the former Appropriations chairman, who was removed for padding the budget and other actions, that the speaker is corrupt and abuses his office is aimed at tarnishing his image at home and abroad and is a clear case of libel.

The letter reads in part, “We act as solicitors to Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of House of Representatives of Three Arm Zone National Assembly Complex, Abuja herein after referred to as “our client” and on whose instructions we write this letter to you.

“The attention of our client has been drawn to a libelous press statement you issued on Monday 25th July 2016 which was made available to members of the press (print and electronic media) titled “THE CORRUPT SPEAKER YAKUBU DOGARA AND HIS 3-MAN CABAL”.

“In the said publication, you published words to the following effect concerning our client and three other principal members of the House of Representatives-
“Honourable colleagues and fellow Nigerians, I wish to make further revelations.
‘Speaker Yakubu Dogara and his senior cabal namely Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority leader Ogor has (sic) promoted corruption so badly in the House that if President Muhammadu Buhari with his disdain for corruption and corrupt people have the slightest idea, he will ban the QUARTET permanently from the Villa before they eventually allow for proper and unbiased investigation by the House.
‘Mr Speaker and Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun diverted millions of Naira all in the name of paying for guest houses and official residence. The issue became so messy that the Deputy Speaker openly accused Hon Herman Hembe of short changing them of millions of naira in the deal to the shock of many Hon Members.
‘Speaker Yakubu Dogara frequently abuse his office amounting to conflict of interest by soliciting for inappropriate favours from agencies and Multinational companies. He forced an agency to grant loans and a construction company blackmailed to do some work at his Asokoro ‘plot’
‘Speaker Yakubu Dogara has carefully designed a scheme to scam Hon Members through deduction from their salaries certain amount of money for a so called mortgage arrangement to build houses for members. He has been applying every under hand tactics to ensure Members agree to the deal.
“Speaker Yakubu Dogara has consistently refused members access to the financial dealings and internal budget of the House. He runs the financial management of the House like a cult aided and abated by the Chairman House services Hon Babanlle Ila. It is no longer news that all over the House, Hon Members are aware of the monumental fraud perpetrated by Speaker Yakubu Dogara in this regard.
”We are even told that this is a child’s play compared to the mess and allegations of money laundering he left behind as Chairman house services in both the 6th and 7th Assembly. The EFCC should have something to start working with in respect to his tenure as Chairman House services if they properly dust their files.”
“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 N40bn out of the N100bn allocated to the entire National Assembly.
”The four of them met and took that decision, in addition to billions of wasteful projects running to over 20bn, they allocated to their constituencies. They must come out clean. My inability to admit into the budget almost 30bn personal requests from Mr. Speaker and the three other principal officers also became an issue.”

It continued, “The personal references are obviously directed at our client, and amount to a very serious libel.

“By the said publication and without putting to the public any shred of evidence, our client is portrayed as a criminal, corrupt, dishonest, fraudulent, dishonourable and unfit to hold the position of Speaker of House of Representatives.

“Our client’s reputation has further been brought down in the estimation of right thinking members of the society and he has been thrown into public opprobrium, odium, scorn and ridicule.

“Consequently, we consider your publication on the matter as not only libelous but made in bad faith; an act of vendetta owing to your recent removal as the Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation.

“The said publication is also aimed at causing disaffection between Nigerians and members of the House of Representatives.

“Sequel to the above, we have to request you to submit immediately to us a clear and unqualified apology and retraction of the publication in an equally conspicuous position in all the print and electronic media where the publication appeared.

“TAKE NOTICE that in the event of your failure/refusal to comply with the above mentioned demands within seven (7) days of your receipt of this letter, we have further instructions to institute a suit against you in a court of law.

If we have to pursue this course, we shall be claiming aggravated and exemplary damages.

Meanwhile Jubrin is said not to be perturbed about the development as he threatened to drag Dogara to EFCC.

Additional report by Premium Times

 

 

 

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