Embattled former chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has struck again, this time with new revelations about how Speaker Yakubu Dogara allegedly perpetrated a massive shakedown of administrators of government agencies and multinational firms operating in the country.
Mr. Jibrin raised the allegations in an email to PREMIUM TIMES on Monday evening, as tension intensified in the House of Representatives over the unfolding budget padding scandal.
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 today’s 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 PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday, 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.
Despite growing demand from Nigerians for his explanation, Mr. Dogara has maintained silence, saying he would rather allow the House to deal with the matter as an institution instead of engaging in political mudslinging with Mr. Jibrin.