There may be emerging tension in the National Assembly as embattled Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, former Chairman of the Appropriation Committee, dismissed his 180 days suspension from the House of Representatives to insist that there is systemic corruption in the House of Representatives. The threat by the former House Committee Chairman of Appropriation to release more detailed information on the corruption in the federal legislature is generating apprehension in both chambers of the National Assembly.
Nigerians will soon receive the biggest revelation of corruption in the National Assembly as promised by the suspended Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin—though he didn’t reckon with the Independence Day holiday when he fired off his three-day ultimatum Sept. 30.
“Any lawmaker who fails to heed his call should be prepared for the backlash that would follow when he publishes details of how such official perpetrated the fraud,” he said in a statement, shortly after his 180-legislative-day banishment from the House last week.
But, certainly, the federal lawmakers, especially the House of Reps leadership, including Speaker Yakubu Dogara and 10 others, have cause to be afraid of what Jibrin, who many of his colleagues have dismissed as a cokehead or demon-possessed, could do.
Jibrin, however, said his latest agitation is about proving a point.
“I have come under intense public scrutiny and pressure to prove that there exists systemic corruption in the House,” Jibrin said.
“I’m going into a massive alliance with civil society groups, NGOs and well-meaning Nigerian to continue to press ahead.”
Already, no fewer than 15 civil society organisations (CSOs) have massed up to give the indicted lawmakers hell if they refuse to step down, and allow a more transparent investigation than that the House ethics and privileges committee conducted.
The committee headed by Hon. Nicholas Ossai indicted Jibrin for abusing the House privileges in his media campaign against Dogara and others over a N40-billion budget scandal. The media war has been running for about two months now.
Jibrin, who had earlier promised to attend the public hearing the House committee organised, refused to turn up in order to present his own evidence.
His lawyer SAN Femi Falana claimed he wrote to the committee over the illegality of that investigation of a matter already in court.
The CSOs also present at the hearing were about to doubt the sincerity of the 40-year-old honourable turned a whistle-blower.
Their fear that they might be backing the wrong horse has prompted Jibrin to do something as drastic as publishing details of how Dogara and 10 others have bilked Nigeria’s budget in the name of running expenses adding up to N10 billion in the last nine years.
“I have written to the Clerk of the National Assembly to stand by in anticipation,”Jibrin said.
According to Jibrin, the 10 principal officers who allegedly received the billions include the Speaker Dogara who allegedly got the largest share of N1.5 billion, Mr. Jibrin said.
Others are Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, N800 million; Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, N1.2 billion; his deputy, Buba Jibril, N1.2 billion; House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa, N1.2 billion; and his deputy, Pally Iriase, N700 million.
Listed also are Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, N1.2 billion, his deputy, Chukwuka Onyema: N800 million, Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde, N700 million and his deputy, Binta Bello, N700 million.
The whistle-blower himself, who was chairman of the House appropriation committee before he was removed, pocketed N650 million.
“In the face of the revenue challenges and biting hardship the country is currently facing, there is no better time the country needs such money than now.”
The entire NASS has been in ferment because of pockets of corruption allegations since the beginning of the 8th Assembly. And the principal officers of both chambers have had their fair shares of theose allegations.
Many are worried. But the most concerned appear to be CSOs who, in the absence of evidence, have only been making public statements condemning the nation’s second arm of government.
“There is something fundamentally wrong with how the National Assembly discharges its legislative and oversight duties,” s statement released by the Socio-Economic Responsibility and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 14 other conscious movements said.
“At the heart of these allegations are corrupt enrichment, conspiracy to act corruptly, embezzlement, diversion and misappropriation of public funds for lavish lifestyles, abuse of office and public trust.”
The coalition is alarmed at the nonchalance of the House to the budget scandal. “Given the seriousness and gravity of allegations against the House leadership, the outcome of any investigation under the leadership of the current principal officers of the House would not meet the threshold of an effective, transparent and independent investigation.”
But the House isn’t the only arm conniving at the scandal. The presidency has yet to show any sign of worry for signing into law a heavily manipulated 2016 budget. President Muhammadu Buhari’s special aide Ita Enang has insisted his boss assented to a well vetted budget.
ALSO SEE: Unpacking Mr. Dogara Paddington
And that position, many believe, has made Buhari somewhat gentle and silent toward Dogara who still goes in and out te villa in spite of an on-going huge campaign against him as the No. 4 citizen.
But Jibrin said the president’s refusal to butt in is a plus. “If Mr. President had jumped into the matter at the early stage, trust Nigerians, they would have concluded that the presidency is using me to fight the House,” said in his Independence Day ‘compliments’ to Nigerians.
”Such perception and blackmail would have been difficult to deal with. The silence of Mr. President on this matter is a blessing in disguise.”
He, however, noted the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption has been brought into the picture. Jibrin said he already told them how he and his colleagues have been stealing public funds while the majority of Nigerians grappled with poverty.
Analysts believe Buhari will be among those Jibrin’s revelation, especially on Dogara, will devastate politically—if the report is really as damning as the lawmaker has been painting it.
This is the third time Jibrin will be doing this sabre-rattling since he fell out with his friend Dogara. But the burden of proof on him now could make him spill his gut.