Either the former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, has gone mad or President Muhammadu Buhari is protecting the embattled speaker of Nigerian House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara and other principal members of the lower chamber accused of budget padding fraud.
Taking a look at can of worms so far busted by Jibrin, there is no other logical conclusion to draw.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja to commemorate what he dubbed, ‘100 days of the budget padding controversy in the House of Representatives’ on Saturday, he dropped another bombshell.
The suspended lawmaker alerted Nigerians over how each member collects N10million monthly. According to him, it explains why a lawmaker with no money after election could easily afford to buy a car worth N20 million immediately after inauguration as the arrangement in the House allows a lawmaker to be paid the cumulative of that amount upfront.
He said, “Members collect about N10 million every month. In the past from when I came into the National Assembly till date, there has been a situation where N10 million has been collected, sometimes between N10 to about N20 million monthly. There is this joke that everybody knows me with it in the National Assembly that I used to tell them in the house that only footballers and basketballers are known to collect such allowances.
“Then to make matters worse, there is a kind of an arrangement, that ensures that the cumulative of that amount is paid to you upfront. That is why you see someone comes into the National Assembly with nothing, after swearing in, he is already buying a car of N20 million. There is a fraudulent arrangement. For instance, if what you take is from N20 million per month that brings it to about N900 billion for four years. There is a fraudulent arrangement that ensures you could get even up to half of that money instantly. It is such a mess.”
Jibrin argued that if alleged corruption in the House of Representatives were addressed, ninety percent of Nigeria’ s problems would have been solved, as lawmakers oversight all sectors of the country.
For that reason, he vowed that he will continue with the fight until the issue of corruption in the House of Representatives is addressed.
Jibrin again emphasised that he will not apologise.“ I will continue with this matter. I have said it repeatedly that I will never apologise. Rapprochement have been made to say whatever you have …… and I said look, it doesn’t make sense to me to apologise when I know that the People I am faced with are corrupt. Why should I apologise. Maybe, they feel that the three years that is left for us is like fifty years. But because I have been in the system over and over again, I know that it is just like today and tomorrow. Even if they will succeed in ensuring that I remain suspended, the maximum that they can go is three years”.
The latest accusation adds to the list of grievous wrongdoings Jibrin has levelled against his fellow colleagues. But, as typical of our country, it seems that those entrusted with law enforcement, are not listening.
Interestingly, those who called themselves honourables fought tooth and nail to uphold what they termed “ethics” of the House, but had little or no interest in the enforcement of Nigeria law which criminalises fraud. It was quite surprising. This leads so many going away thinking that they only sacrificed Jibrin to save their heads.
It is only in a cassava republic that a former chairman of a committee that oversees the budget would raise allegation of budget-padding fraud against principal officers of the House and no probe would be launched.
Such only lends credence to the accusation against Buhari that he is only prosecuting a selective war against corruption – a war in which his friends are firmly protected, while his so-called enemies are made to face the music to the fullest.
The gestapo-style raid on the house of some judges and arrest of some them accused of corruption is still fresh on our minds. In such cases, the prosecution of war against graft is effective and efficient, according to those who accuse Buhari of double standard – but non-existent when the culprits are friends of the president or members of his party.
We are all witnesses to how US democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton is being dogged by an FBI Email probe despite being a member of the ruling party. That is how democracy works. There is only one law for everybody, no matter how highly or lowly placed.
Mr. President, I see nothing persuasive to draw the conclusion that Jibrin is now a mental health patient. This is why it is imperative to ask the relevant law enforcement agency to conduct a thorough investigation. The allegations are too weighty to be legitimately brushed aside. And, in this case, the motive with which Jibrin is making the accusations is legally irrelevant.
Whether you like it or not, one of the reasons why we have recession is because of the profligacy at the National Assembly. And you cannot be serious about getting the country out of recession without turning off the over-flowing financial tap that runs non-stop at the legislature.