The embattled former chairman of House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has responded to allegations leveled against him by the House of Representatives.
Mr. Jibrin also dismissed the threat of legal action made by the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, against him.
Mr. Dogara had Wednesday issued a seven-day ultimatum to Mr. Jibrin to withdraw allegations of corruption against the speaker.
Mr. Jibrin, removed last week as chairman of the appropriations committee over allegation of breach of trust, said Mr. Dogara was involved in a fraudulent attempt to pad the budget with projects worth about N40 billion.
In his reaction to the threat of legal action, Mr. Jibrin said the speaker wanted to approach court to stall investigation of his allegations by the House.
“I know he will rush to court in order to invoke the house rules that matter in court cannot be heard on the floor,” said Mr. Jibrin. “He failed to realise that the law is not intended to protect corrupt people. It is such a shame.”
He vowed not to withdraw the allegations against the Speaker and three others, namely, Deputy Speaker, Lasun Yusuf; Chief Whip, Alhassan Doguwa; and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor.
“I have responded to their allegations rather than respond to mine, he is rushing to court. I stand by my allegations and will not withdraw them!”
He said plan was afoot to ensure anti-graft agencies investigate the budget scandal rocking the House.
“I am happy to announce that my lawyers have officially approached the EFCC and the ICPC towards working out a date for me to personally submit my petition against Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker, Lasun Yusuf, Whip, Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor.”
Mr. Jibrin also responded to counter allegations of fraud by the House against him.
His full statement:
THREAT OF LEGAL ACTION BY YAKUBU DOGARA AND MY RESPONSE TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE BY HON ABDULRAZAK NAMDAS ACTING ILLEGALLY AND WITHOUT THE CONSENT OF THE HOUSE ON BEHALF OF THE QUARTET OF SPEAKER YAKUBU DOGARA, DEPUTY SPEAKER YUSUF LASUN, HOUSE WHIP ALHASSAN DOGUWA AND MINORITY LEADER LEO OGOR
After going through the press text by Hon Namdas, I had made up my mind not to bother wasting my time responding to a much publicized press conference that turned out an anti climax but for my Hon Colleagues and general public who may fall for such cheap blackmail, I had to respond. All the accusations were a compendium of lies put together by the QUARTET who are desperately looking for something to nail me but can’t find anything. Again for the purpose of emphasis I did nothing wrong neither have I abused my office, public trust or corruptly enriched my self. The press statement surely failed to make allegations on me with precision like the specific allegations that I have raised against the QUARTET which they are yet to respond to a single one!
I will respond to the lies they told one after the other and explain other issues I believe my Hon colleagues and the public should know. As I mentioned in the past, I had written a lot on some of these issues especially the 2016 budget which I intend to publish in my personal memoir LIFE AT 40: MY STORY as part of my 40th birthday in September. The memoir when published will give an insight on my life so that the public will understand some of these issues in proper perspective.
Let me also state that the way and manner Hon members of the house, civil society groups, security and anti corruption agencies and the general public handle these issues and allegations will certainly determine if people in different sectors who have the courage to fight corruption, abuse of trust and offices will have the necessary support and encouragement to step up. Just imagine if these QUARTET and their accomplice like Hon Herma Hembe are found guilty and sent to jail. It will be a defining moment and a huge accomplishment for our fight against corruption.
Today, my lawyers have officially approached the EFCC and ICPC towards working out a date for me to submit my petition and brief the agencies. Rather than respond to my allegations, he is threatening me with court action. I stand by my allegations against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and 3 others and I shall neither apologize nor withdraw my statement. I know he will rush to court in order to invoke the house rules that matter in court cannot be heard on the floor of the house. He failed to realize that the rules are not intended to protect corrupt people. It is such a shame.
DISPLAYED IMMATURITY AND LACK TEMPERAMENT, DEALING WITH TOP GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AMONG OTHER SIMILAR LIES
At the level these matter had gotten to I expected that what ever they will accuse me of should be backed with instances. They failed to cite such instances where I had displayed such qualities.
This is how we have systematically destroyed our institutions because “maturity” and the right “temperament” is when you can cover corruption, injustice and abuse of office and public trust and you cannot stand up anywhere you are for the truth without minding whose ox is gored. If that is the definition of maturity to the QUARTET, then I shall gladly remain immature for the rest of my life. I am not new to dealing with highly placed government officials.
They probably failed to research properly about me. With the risk of sounding immodest, I started very in life. I started business at the age of 19. I started meeting a Nigerian president in my mid twenties. I have had an extensive experience over the last two decades in the process building a massive network in both the political, business, academia, traditional, religious, union and civil society among others in Nigeria and beyond. I was prepared for leadership.
COLLATING SENSITIVE GOVERNMENT INFORMATION TO BLACKMAIL AND COMPLAIN OF HARASSMENT
Who did I blackmail? No instances were provided just complete lies. It is a no news that I will have access and insight on a lot of government information both classified and non having served as chairman of the sensitive finance committee of the House and until recently appropriation committee. But because of my family upbringing, experience in life, training and mentorship I have enjoyed all my life, I grew up to be very organized by nature. I document everything that should be documented.
I keep a diary of events. Hardly is there any record regarding my job that I cannot produce and hardly is there anything you will ask that I cannot explain or defend. I thought that should not scare or intimidate any upright leader who has nothing to hide but should attract any leader to utilize such qualities effectively. No, that will not attract Speaker Dogara and his 3 cohorts who are so small minded and prefer to have a small group of mediocres around them. I think they were shocked to realize that I have everything documented.
I did NOT document it to blackmail anyone but just to keep the records as part of my responsibility. However, if the need arises to use such documents to expose corruption and abuse of office, I shall not hesitate to give it out even at the risk of such blackmail and propaganda from the QUARTET
Here again they failed to cite just a single instance. Which agency did I harass? For what? It is my tradition in the House except under such necessary circumstances, I do not see heads of MDA’S like the way Speaker Dogara has converted his office and home, and guest houses to center of pilgrimage for head of MDAs. I don’t go to government offices except on oversight. I will wait for Speaker Dogara to tell the country who I harassed.
LEADERSHIP LAUNCHED AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION AND FOUND ME GUILTY
This accusation alone is enough for my colleagues and Nigerians to clearly see the desperation, manipulation, lies, blackmail and the poor quality of leadership of the QUARTET. When was the internal investigation instituted? Who are those that conducted the investigation? How come I only knew I was investigated through your press statement yesterday?
Why wasn’t I given fair hearing? Under which house rules was I investigated without my knowledge? Where is the report of the investigation? Isn’t this the same speaker Dogara that openly defended our 3 colleagues accused of sexual harassment in the US on the grounds that they were not granted the right to be heard? Now Nigerians can imagine and start seeing the heavy witch hunt that they mounted on me. This is a huge shame and an embarrassment to the Speaker and the 3 other principal officers. I challenge Speaker Yakubu Dogara to answer the questions. This is completely baseless.
DAURA PROJECTS IN 2016
Yes, I take responsibility for this as I will on any matter that I know I am responsible for. I don’t know how to lie. I don’t need permission or consent of Mr President to put in the budget water scheme, agricultural and rural development projects in Daura.
I have said severally and will repeat, are people of Daura not Nigerians? During the budget process, people come to the House from all over the country to lobby for projects in their constituencies but nobody from Daura including Mr President came to lobby. At a meeting with Mr Speaker and some principal officers, I admit I told him that I have looked at the budget, there was almost no project in Daura.
I reminded him that Mr President will NEVER lobby us for such but he is human and will appreciate if Nigerians in Daura enjoy a bit of the budget so long as what ever projects taken there is not too much compared to other states. I also reminded them that he is twice the Head of this country we should not abuse the fact that by his nature he will never ask. If he is a selfish leader, he can turn Daura to a small London instantly. But he believes in fairness for all. That is why great Africans like Mo Ibrahim instituted the monetary award for African heads of states like Buhari who will not steal under any circumstance. What I did was in tandem to this.
Now you can imagine the quality of leaders like Speaker Yakubu Dogara who wants to turn this against me and set me on collusion with the presidency. It is such a shame that our so called leaders can not appreciate and support such a simple cause.
A man like Mr president who has held every position in the country and twice president without any success to blackmail him, is it the very few projects I put in Daura that will be used to blackmail such a man? When Speaker Dogara and the 3 other principals inserted projects worth over 20billion in their constituencies? God Almighty is with the innocent.
PROJECTS WITHOUT LOCATIONS OR CLEAR DEFINITION
This is a non issue. They are just looking for more flesh to tidy up their blackmail and lies. In EVERY BUDGET YEAR such situations are found. The secretariat work extremely hard during the budget period to insert all items into the budget template. Since this job is done by human beings like us, there are bound to be some errors like the aforesaid and even more. It is such a simple issue and there is a standard way of dealing with it instantly through what we call CORRIGENDUM. It is a correction to any appropriation act. Indeed the first CORRIGENDUM I signed with respect to the 2016 budget was for the projects of Speaker Yakubu Dogara. One of such projects I later discovered was a water project he diverted to his personal farm somewhere in Nasarawa. Both of us have the records.
I FRACTURED RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO ARMS OF GOVERNMENT
This I found very laughable. What did I do and how did I do that? Again, a case of desperate Speaker Dogara looking for something against me. Let me use this window to explain something. After the standing committees of the House forwarded their reports we discovered that over 2000 projects were inserted into the budget by just 10 out of the 96 standing committees of the House.
My self and Sen Goje had to find a balance between the executive submissions and standing committees reports. It was during that period that we met the president. Mr President belongs to all of us. Nobody be it presiding or principal officer has the right to stop any member from seeing the president. Immediately we came out of the villa, i went straight to brief Speaker Dogara.
To say I was shocked with his reaction was an under statement. He went ballistic! And kept shouting, why should you go to the villa, why? I looked at Dogara and remembered the quote “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Well, I ignored his selfish reaction and briefed him what we intend to do moving forward. In the following days, we consulted wildly with ministers and got their key inputs. We prepared two scenarios, one to provide a balance between the House submission and that of the executive while the other is to carry largely the standing committees recommendations.
I discussed everything with Mr Speaker and he asked me to stay action to allow him consult with other principal officers. In between he travelled to London. It was from London that he called and instructed me to adopt the committee version. At that point all the great consultative work we did with the ministers became a waste. And I knew he did that deliberately to embarrass me and ensure we fail in the eye of our executive counterparts.
That is how vindictive Speaker Dogara can be. At a meeting of Principal officers of the House, When Mr president returned the budget because he considered insertions by NASS too much, I explained that we had worked out a balanced scenario for the budget with the executive but the Speaker directed that we forward the other version. The Speaker unfortunately tried to deny and the atmosphere became tensed.
The duo of Lasun and Ogar took time to direct that when we go into the executive session that morning, I should talk less to members when I am asked to give my briefing and specifically say nothing about the N40billion they took. I rejected that. I told them my reputation is at stake. At that point everybody in the country was attacking me.
Where on earth will I say I took N40 billion to? Even the best accountant in the world cannot hide such huge sums. Lasun and Ogor almost brought down the roof of the office. I maintained my calm and apologized to Mr Speaker and the rest of them. It was at that meeting that I was asked to stop further comments to the press.
God Almighty is a living witness. We proceeded to the executive session, I briefed my colleagues and told them the truth. Since then Speaker Dogara and the 3 others effectively blocked me from further meetings and briefing sessions and sponsored an extensive internal and external propaganda against me to give my colleagues and the general public the impression that everything about the 2016 budget is Hon Jibrin. That is why many members carried on without the true picture of what transpired and of course their anger towards me.
But since I started opening up, I have received hundred of calls from my colleagues querying why I didn’t let them know all these. They will soon realize that I am not alone and members will not allow such serious allegations of corruption to be swept under the carpet. I kept pressure on the Speaker to allow me opportunity to brief my colleagues to no avail.
The insincerity and conspiracy of silence from the few standing committee chairmen that inserted about 2000 projects into the budget and unnecessary movement of huge sums of money didn’t help my case. Some of the biggest culprits are chairmen of standing committees on Power Hon Dan Asuquo, Higher education Hon Zakari Mohammed, Water resources Hon Aliyu Pategi, health Hon Chike Okafor, interior Hon Jagaba Adams, FCT Hon Herma Hembe and police affairs Hon Haliru Jika among few others.
So I was taking heat both within the House and outside. It was a very trying moment for me but praise be to God Almighty.
INCREMENT OF SIZE OF BUDGET BY 250 BILLION NAIRA, 4.1 ALLEGATION AND THE KANO FILM VILLAGE PROJECT
There has never been any version of the 2016 budget that was produced with an increased size of 250billion naira. It is an extension of the wicked propaganda and and desperate search for lies and blackmail by Speaker Dogara and the 3 others. If at all there is, let them bring it out.
One Single allegation that I may probably carry on with it and keep explaining for the rest of my life is the 4.1 billion worth of project I allocated to my constituency. When this allegation came out, I was already under instruction by Speaker Dogara to stop talking to the press. I could not respond. By the time it became convenient for me to speak, the tempo had died down.
I decided to simply include it in my 40th birthday memoir to be released in September. There was nothing like projects worth 4.1billion naira in my constituency in any version of the budget. It was a huge blackmail which I only later realized it was instigated by Speaker Dogara and the 3 others. Aside few projects in my constituency, I was more interested in projects that will help not only kano but the whole of Nigeria like the Kano Film Village, Irrigation projects, dams and roads. At the end I succeeded in promoting the Kano film village which has raised unnecessary controversy.
The Kano Film village is designed by the Nigerian Film cooperation NFC Jos to be a world class film village with ultra modern training institute, cinematography center, theater, premiere square, diverse skill acquisition center, male and female hostels, hotel accommodation, 1,500 capacity conference hall, shopping mall, eateries, mini zoo, Nigerian and world culture exhibition center, history and documentation center, clinic and every conventional facilities that are required for a world class film village.
When I saw the proposal of the project and knowing the massive potentials of the Kannywood, I did not hesitate to buy into it for many obvious reasons. It will create massive employment opportunity for our teeming youth, open up sources of revenue for the federal government, boost economic activities in kano which is the 2nd largest commercial city in nigeria, serve as a center to promote our country, culture, people and many more through films.
Today, it’s a shame we have no standard films on the lives of our founding leaders like Awo, Zik, Balewa, Ahmadu Bello, Aminu kano and the host of others. We do not take advantage of films to promote our good culture and sell every aspect of our country from our economic potentials to tourism attraction.
We don’t even care that we don’t have documentary and films of our great religious leaders like Oyedepos, kuka, Shiek Gumi, Sheik Dahiru Bauchi and many others. No films on our great traditional leaders and institutions.
If it were in Europe or America, they surely would have commenced films on the great lives of the late Oni of Ife and his highness the late Emir of kano or even their charismatic successors like ours, his Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II.
Do we have to wait for foreigners to make films on our great Gani Fewehinmi, Olusegun Obasanjo or the greatest leader today on the African continent, a natural successor to Nelson Mandela, President Muhammadu Buhari?
Unfortunately, the whole idea was misrepresented with Speaker Dogara playing a clear script behind the scene using a member from kano to oil the misinformation that the center was going to be a dancing club and center for all sorts of negative social activities.
Some of Our religious leaders in kano fell for these lies and commenced protest against the project. A very sad situation.
PROOF OF EVIDENCE AND INACCESSIBILITY AND APPROPRIATION MEMBERS
I have and will provide evidence on all the allegations at the appropriate time. When the secretariat of the appropriation committee was taken away from me twice how much more members of the appropriation committee. I have shortchanged no one. I left the committee in harmony with my members that is why most of them were seated with me when I announced my resignation. A lot of them sympathized with me because they understand very well the dirty game that was played by Dogara. The few occasions when I attempted to open up to members of appropriation committee, I was accused of trying to topple the leadership of the House. It was a very difficult situation.
I had lived life on a fast lane, I have slowed down considerably. Everybody knows my schedules. I try to retire home as early as I can. I avoid late night meetings or unnecessary socializing like frequent parties organized by the Speaker. I keep my weekends for my parents, family, relatives and constituents. I go to work early enough and hardly will you ever find a file lying down on my table unattended. I mind my business as much as I can but they will not let me be. So if anyone is accusing me of inaccessibility, he is not being honest. May be they want me to join the gang of late night plotters.
MY TENURE AS CHAIRMAN FINANCE
As chairman finance, I had a very eventful tenure. I conducted many investigations and left an unblemished record. The committee was vibrant and we recorded so many milestone. I won so many awards both home and abroad and got inducted as fellow into several professional bodies. I have never been accused of corruption or any wrong doing all through my tenure. I lobbied and attracted some projects to my constituency which were executed and some are yet to be paid for by government. The allegations in these regards are not different from all others. Desperate people looking for something to nail me. It is a wild wild goose chase, baseless allegation and arrant nonsense. They should forward what ever they have to the EFCC.
TRADITION OF N40BILLION OUT N100BILLION GOING TO LEADERSHIP
I am not aware of any tradition, rules or decision of the House that grants 40billion out of the 100billion naira constituency funds to the leadership. This is a clear case of fraud and abuse of trust committed by Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the 3 others. This is one question they must answer.
I have written so much about the House which will further address these and many other issues to be published in my 40th birthday memoir. Some people may never understand why it is imperative that I fight this to its logical conclusion. It will force an internal reform in the House for the benefit of the country. It will send a strong message to anybody no matter how highly placed you are in the house, if you get involved in corrupt acts or abuse your office, you will face the law. It will also scare corrupt people from attempting to get into the house. And finally, I am 39 and will be 40 in September. I am fairly blessed with everything that a man can ask for from God on earth. I consider myself extremely lucky. All I have left is my integrity. Many people including my colleagues don’t know the facts of the issues. I must continue to explain so that all the facts will be laid out. I will never allow anybody to destroy my hard earned integrity especially corrupt people like Speaker Dogara and the 3 others when they fight back.
Finally, I have responded to their allegations within 24hrs, they are yet to respond to mine almost a week after. I am once again calling on all Hon Members of the House of Representatives and the general public to call on Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the 3 others to answer the 20 allegations I have raised against them and reconvene the House immediately to allow for an independent investigation by the House.
Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin PhD MBA
Kiru-Bebeji Federal constituency