‘Lawmakers have the power to move money, but…’ – Jibrin

Abdulmummin Jibrin, the former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, on Thursday, said that about 250 members of the House of Representative have signed a petition for the resignation and investigation of Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

Speaking during a television programme on the Africa independent Television, Jibrin also disclosed that the Department of State Services has increased his security details over threats to his life.

He noted that Speaker Dogara plans to ensure that the House was in recess until September when the issue would have died down a bit.

Jibrin said, “I am not alone, I am with many members. Yesterday (Wednesday), a lot of them said they wanted to go to the secretariat with me, but I said no. I didn’t want us to make the thing to look like a movie.

“We have the transparency group and it did not just start now; so no one can say Jibrin initiated it. It was formed even before we went on holiday. Anyone that says we are lying must be a joker because there were about 200 signatures before we left for holiday.

“Now, they have increased to about 250. Another group has emerged aside the integrity group and these groups have come together and all they are asking Mr. Speaker to do is to reconvene the House immediately and step down, but the body language of Mr. Speaker and a few corrupt people around him is that the issue would have died down when we resume in September and Nigerians would have forgotten.

“You are corrupt and you are talking about September. What we are asking for is that Mr. Speaker should reconvene the House immediately and step down so that internal and external investigations can go on concurrently.”

He exonerated the House Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, of any wrongdoings in the alleged budget padding scandal.

“People keep asking why I didn’t mention Femi (Gbajabiamila). I tried to explain that it is these four principal officers – the Speaker, the deputy, the whip and the minority leader   – that are involved. Everyone who knows the House will tell you that these four people have hijacked it.

“The meeting where they decided to divert N40bn was at the office of the Speaker and it was the four of them that insisted. Even though I am not on good terms with Femi, he has not been involved in the decisions of the House even as the Leader. He has been excluded from key decisions in the House.”

“When I look at Leo Ogor, who has the audacity to go on screen and talk, I fear for the future of this country. This is somebody who practically made nonsense of the Niger Delta Ministry’s budget. It was the beginning of my disagreement with him and I have documents to prove it.

“He (Ogor) brought in all his projects into the budget. He basically took over the budget of the Niger Delta Ministry. The minister complained several times, but he couldn’t do anything about it and I told Ogor that the way he was carrying on was not the way to prepare budget.’’

“When you talk of massive movement of money in the budget, people will say the lawmakers have the power. Yes, I have also come out to say that the lawmakers have the power to move money, but the issue is that the Constitution did not envisage that a lawmaker will do it like someone who needs to be taken to a psychiatric hospital.

“For instance, a local government may have the capacity to use 10 transformers, but if a lawmaker decided to inflate it to 50 transformers, it is corruption; it is fraud. So, there is a limit to appropriation.”

“How can the Speaker write to members to contribute a part of their running costs to build houses for them? A project being carried out by his own consultants! The money is meant for members to procure constituency offices, hold town hall meetings and do research; and you want to divert the money for that kind of project!”

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