No doubt, this is not the best of time for the Speaker of the House Representative, Yakubu Dogara, as colleagues who want him removed have swellen from th initial 102 to 250.
News Punch Had on earlier this week reported that some members of the lower legislative arm had signed in support of the Speaker's removal.
The embattled former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, says at least 250 out of the 360 members of the House have signed a petition calling for the probe and removal of the Speaker, Punch Newspaper reports this morning.
Jibrin added that the Department of State Services had beefed up security around him due to threats he had been receiving.
Jibrin said this on Thursday during a programme on Africa Independent Television, titled,‘Focus Nigeria.’
The lawmaker claimed that some of his colleagues even demanded that they marched down to the secretariat of the appropriations committee, but he told them that it was not yet time to do so.
Jibrin said part of the demands of the lawmakers was that Dogara should immediately reconvene the House, which is on holiday, and then step down and allow a thorough probe of the lower chamber of the National Assembly.
He, also, said Dogara had become jittery and had refused to give in to their demands.
He said the intention of Dogara was to ensure that the House remained on recess until September when the tension would have been doused.
He 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.”
Jibrin said apart from the Speaker, the culprits in the budget padding allegations were the Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun; the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; and the Chief Whip, Alhassan Doguwa.
He said the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, was not part of the alleged budget padding because Gbajabiamila had been marginalised by Dogara and was not in the chamber’s inner caucus.
The lawmaker said he used to be friends with Gbajabiamila, but they had not been on talking terms since last year when he supported Dogara for the post of the Speaker.
“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.”
Jibrin said he made 25 allegations against the Speaker and his cohorts, adding that he had concrete evidence, which he was willing to present.
He accused the minority leader of diverting the money budgeted for the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
Jibrin said, “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.’’
He added, “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.”
Jibrin also said the Speaker had come up with a plot to defraud all the lawmakers under the guise of providing accommodation for them.
“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!”
Excerpt From Punch Newspaper
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