The pictures of what is said to be one of Speaker Yakubu Dogara’s guest houses emerged on Sunday, as the budget padding scandal rocking Nigeria’s House of Representatives worsens.
The pictures were sent to PREMIUM TIMES by lawmakers who asked not to be named. They said the pictures, depicted Mr. Dogara’s guest house located at Vistula Close, along Panama Crescent, in the exquisite Maitama neighbourhood in Abuja.
We initially thought the lawmakers were on an errand for the former chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, who has been fighting Mr. Dogara.
But the embattled lawmaker telephoned PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday night, saying he had nothing to do with the release of the photographs.
“I don’t have a hand in the release of those photographs,” Mr. Jibrin said. “I’m dealing with serious issues and not about guest houses.”
Mr. Jibrin had repeatedly said in his allegations that Mr. Dogara allegedly looted funds meant for legislative duties to furnish his guest houses and other apartments being personally used by him.
The charges were part of the similar ones Mr. Jibrin had come up with in recent days, following his ouster from the Appropriation Committee’s leadership on allegations that he betrayed the House leadership and other members.
Mr. Jibrin denied all the allegations, saying it was Mr. Dogara who had been sitting over massive misappropriation of public funds as Speaker.
“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 Herma Hembe of short changing them of millions of naira in the deal to the shock of many honourable members,” Mr. Jibrin said in a July 25 statement.
Mr. Dogara and others named in the alleged fraud denied the allegations.
Mr. Jibrin’s whistleblowing had seen the public inundated with House internal documents about how funds were allegedly allocated to lawmakers for ‘constituency’ projects, triggering sweeping investigation into the scandal.