- Abdulmumuni Jibrin, a former chairman of the House committee on appropriation has been summoned by the APC
- Jibrin's summoning is not unconnected with his move to deal with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara
- Dogara might soon have his security details withdrawn by the government
Embattled ex-chairman of the House Committee on appropriation, Hon Abdulmumuni Jibrin has been summoned by the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Reports suggest that on Monday, August 1, the APC sent a letter to Abdulmumuni Jibrin, summoning him to appear before a disciplinary committee at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja not later than the afternoon of Tuesday, July 2.
Premium Times reports that the ruling party said all attempts to reach Mr Jibrin (who has remained underground for almost two weeks) by telephone calls and text messages were unsuccessful, leaving the party with no choice than to write to him.
In the letter, dated August 1, 2016, and signed by the party’s Deputy National Chairman for the Northern Zone, Lawal Shuaibu, the APC expressed cautioned Mr. Jibrin’s over his media campaign against the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers over allegation of budget fraud.
“To say the least, it is absolutely unacceptable to resort to media war as a means of settling scores without recourse to and/or exhausting the party’s internal dispute resolution mechanism,” the party said.
Jibrin was removed as chairman of the appropriation committee in controversial circumstances on July 20 on allegations of betrayal of trust.
The lawmaker fought back, embarking on a vicious media campaign to have Dogara; his deputy, Yusuf Lasun; House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, removed from office. (Ogor is the only PDP member of the four.)
Jibrin’s campaign had seen him release details about how the passage of the 2016 budget was handled by lawmakers in a way that portrayed them as fraudulent.
On July 29, he disclosed that he had dispatched incriminating documents to the authorities, who immediately swung into action.
By July 30, the State Security Service sealed the Appropriation Committee Secretariat in the White House Building of the National Assembly.
In the APC’s letter to Jibrin, the party said the Kano lawmaker’s action underscored a blatant disregard for party supremacy and its existing dispute resolution mechanism, adding that it would work to ensure that it instilled discipline on all members.
“As a disciplined party, the constitution of our party has made adequate provisions on ways of resolving any issue among our members,” Mr Shuaibu said.
“It behoves on the party to take all necessary steps in order to ensure that no member of the Family brings dishonour to the party.”
The APC, therefore, reiterated its notice for Mr. Jibrin to appear before the party tomorrow, “urging” him to “be guided accordingly” as he digested the content of the letter.
“You are, therefore, by this invitation, expected to appear before the undersigned at the APC National Secretariat on Tuesday, 2nd August, 2016, at 2 p.m. Kindly note that failure to and/or refusal to honour this invitation will amount to a decision you have made not to submit to the party.”
Shortly after Jibrin announced his visits to law enforcement agencies’ offices where he deposited submitted petitions, Mr Ogor immediately welcomed the move.
“It’s a welcome development,” Mr. Ogor told newsmen. "Now that he has pushed the matter to the EFCC, then Nigerians should exercise patience to see what the truth of the matter is."
Another lawmaker, Adams Jagaba, on Monday said Jibrin should desist from further defaming him and other lawmakers with the budget padding mess.
Jagaba said the warning became necessary after he learnt that Mr. Jibrin had named him alongside others who he accused of attempting to fraudulently inflate the 2016 budget figures, saying he had been a long time proponent of selflessness in public service.
Mr. Jagaba, chairman of House Committee on Interior, said he lived a “modest life,” unlike Mr. Jibrin who allegedly occupied “posh personal apartment at the highbrow Maitama District” of Abuja with “very expensive automobiles.”
According to Jagaba, Jibrin’s car fleet included Toyota Land Cruiser SUVs and Range Rover vehicles, he noted that Jibrin moves around with a “very long convoy of expensive cars with host of security guards armed to the teeth.”
Jagaba said his distaste for corruption dated back to his days as the chairman of teh House Committee on Anti-Corruption, saying he was amongst those who championed the course for a total rejection of bribes allegedly given to lawmakers by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a tenet he said he had continued to uphold ever since.
“Ordinarily, I would have ignored the said publication, but I am compelled to respond for posterity sake. Without sounding immodest, my anti-corruption crusade dates back to my first term between 1999 and 2003, when I exposed the plot of the Presidency which attempted to bribe Honourable Members for the purposes of effecting a leadership change in the House of Representatives.”
“As Chairman, House Committee on Anti-Corruption then, I exhibited the money meant for that plot on the floor of the House at plenary. Again, in 2012, during the scandal that was referred to as “FAROUKGATE”, my name was mentioned. However, after thorough investigation by the Police and other relevant agencies, I was exonerated and given a clean bill of health,” Mr. Jagaba said.
Jagaba said he had continued to maintain a 2013 Toyota RAV4 mid-size SUV, saying Mr. Jibrin is the one who allegedly had cause to be afraid of facing consequences of his action.
“It amazes me, therefore, for Hon. Abdulmumini to petition the EFCC to investigate me for living above my means without giving any proof. As a third term member of the House of Representatives, I live in a rented three-bedroom apartment that has no Boys Quarters. Amongst the cars I drive, the most expensive one is a 2013 Toyota RAV4 2.2 litre engine.
“I do not move around with a convoy of expensive cars. If as a third termer and at fifty-six (56) years of age this is a summary of my life-style as stated above, I have nothing to fear. Can this be said of Hon. Abdulmumini who is less than forty (40) years old and only a second termer? Certainly not,” Jagaba said.
“Hon. Abdulmumini may claim that he has been into business for a long time. But the question remains, what type of business? Before his election in 2011, he was a lecturer. It is a known fact that he was arraigned by the EFCC in 2012 for some shady deals he got involved.
“It is characters like him who should tremble in fear at the mention of the name of EFCC. I hope I should not have cause to pick up my pen on this issue again, as Hon. Abdulmumini may not find it palatable. My counsel to him, therefore, is: “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”.
"Jibrin could not be reached for comment for this story.
"Mr. Jibrin has repeatedly rejected calls for him to back down on his campaign, saying he “won’t retreat."
Meanwhile, indications emerged Sunday that security details of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara may be withdrawn on the orders of the Federal Government over the controversy surrounding the 2016 budget.
Vanguard reports that a document linking the Majority leader of the House, Femi Gbajabimila with constituency projects worth over N4 billion which is domiciled in Osun and Niger States against the initial N1.8 billion constituency projects allocated to him was in circulation.
This is just as the secretariat of the House Appropriation Committee was on Sunday still under the watch of about four security operatives.
Security sources hinted that the withdrawal of security aides to the principal officers allegedly fingered in the budget brouhaha was ensure that there was no obstruction on the course of investigations.
Investigations revealed that the security personnel that were guiding the appropriation committee secretariat were not the regular operatives from the National Assembly.
Meanwhile about 27 civil society organisations have raised the alarm of alleged conspiracy with external forces against the leadership of the House of Representatives, saying that if nothing was done to apply caution, it would threaten the democracy in the country.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, the national coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko alongside other 26 CSOs, said "It is disingenuous for the sacked Appropriation committee chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin to make any claims of exposing massive corruption in the House, accusing speaker Yakubu Dogara of moves to personally smuggle N30bn into 2016 budget."
He said that the understanding of the powers of the National Assembly seems to say that the legislature is constitutionally empowered to vet proposed budget since these elected officials were not rubber stamps of the president.
In the same vein, the Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has broken his silence over the budget padding scandal rocking the lower chamber, following accusations of budget fraud made against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and others by former appropriations committee chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin.
Mr Gbajabiamila remained silent since the House descended into a crisis that has drawn the attention of anti-corruption agencies, and sparked calls for the Speaker to step aside.
Gbajabiamila gave his position via emails sent to members of the House on Monday, August 1.
He confirmed to this newsmen that he disseminated the message in which he asked not to be dragged into “an arena I tried very hard to stay out of”.
Jibrin had last year withdrawn from the speakership race to back Dogara who was then running a tight race against Mr. Gbajabiamila, the then anointed candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
There were speculations last week that Mr. Jibrin had teamed up with Mr. Gbajabiamila to unseat the Speaker.
But Gbajabiamila, through his media aide, Wasiu Olanrewaju, told newsmen that he had no deal with Mr. Jibrin or any problem with Dogara’s leadership.
He however called for investigation of the allegations, and cautioned against taking sides.
The Lagos lawmaker circulated emails to colleagues after some unknown people sent text messages around suggesting he was part of a group working discreetly to force a leadership change in the House.
Premium times reports that the anonymous message was sent from phone number 08119106894.
It reads: "Plot to destabilize the leadership of the House of Reps has taken a new dimension as the AGF working with Gbajabiamila, Jibrin & SGF has (sic) drafted charges to arraign and detain principal officers of the House so that the transparency group who recently met with Tinubu’s wife will effect a leadership change with Gbajabiamila as Speaker and Jibrin as Deputy.
This is why Jibrin did not mention Femi in his allegations. The 8th House won’t be anybody’s rubber stamp. We will resist them like the senate resisted them."
But Gbajabiamila in his email to lawmakers, denied claims made in the anonymous message.
He said: “Since the budget controversy that engulfed the House about a week ago, I have pointedly maintained a dignified silence. I did this for the sake of the institution I represent and which I have laboured hard to grow and protect, knowing that whatever I say could be impactful both within the House and outside it.
“I was determined to keep in place the glue that holds an otherwise fragmented House, protect its integrity and at same time avoid eroding the little confidence and vestiges of hope Nigerians have in us.
“I am being dragged into an arena I tried very hard to stay out of only for the good of the House. The Speakership election has come and gone. The election was divisive and acrimonious but I have since worked hard to heal the wounds some of which still fester amongst members on both sides.
“It is my responsibility to bring all tendencies in a House I lead together and I have worked well with the Speaker and all other Principal officers in a bipartisan manner and in the interest of the institution and members.
“It is clear that our budget process needs radical reform and very quickly too. Yes, allegations have been made but I strongly believe judgment should not be passed based on allegations. We operate a constitutional democracy and we must at all times submit to its dictates and ethos. All parties are innocent until otherwise proven. This should be our guide. I plead with all members. The mudslinging must stop.
“This text message, which desperately seeks to finger me in some macabre plot to destabilize the House is a throwback and echoes our dark post Speakership election history. The resurfacing or resurgence of the faceless text messengers will not help us as a House and let me quickly add that it will fail.”
In a related development, Linus Okorie, a member of the House of Representatives from Ebonyi state, has accused the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of plotting to remove the speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and the entire house leadership.
The lawmaker claimed the presidency was plotting to do this by capitalizing on the allegations raised by Jibrin Abdulmumin, the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, who was sacked recently.
In a statement issued on Monday, August 1, Okorie, who declared his loyalty to Dogara, said the plot would fail as the speaker and other members of the house had not done anything illegal.
Meanwhile Dogara has been advised to resign as to spare himself a national embarrassment that seem imminent. Lagos lawmaker, Moshood Oshun, the chairman of the state House of Assembly committee on public account (for state) gave the advise on Monday, August 1, 2016 as Jibrin delivered petitions to security and anti-graft agencies against Dogara.
He however warned that the matter should be handled with caution just as he also said he would not take sides or conclude until investigation was fully conducted.