Reps step up dirty fight over budget padding scandal

House Speaker Yakubu Dogara dropped former Appropriation Committee chair Abdulmumin Jibrin following pressure from members, it was learnt at the weekend.

Members asked Dogara to choose between them and Jibrin in the aftermath of the padding of the 2016 budget, it was gathered.

The Speaker sensationally removed Jibrin last week but the lawmaker lashed out at Dogara and three other principal officers, saying they should resign because, according to him, they prevailed on him to pad the budget in their favour, but he refused to.

It was also learnt that members were angry that they were all sidelined by Jibrin and his counterpart in the Senate, Sen. Danjuma Goje.

There were strong indications last night that the House may suspend Jibrin when it resumes in September.

According to a principal officer, who pleaded not to be named because he is not permitted to talk to the media, most members of the House were disappointed over the padding of the budget.

The source said: “You can ask any member of the House, the padding of the budget created an image crisis for the National Assembly, especially the House.

“Members were angry and, at a point, they asked Dogara to choose between them and Jibrin. The Speaker’s hands were tied but he was, however, tactical in not removing Jibrin immediately after the Appropriation Bill was passed into law.

“We kept on mounting pressure on him to remove Jibrin or else he will pay for it.

“It became unbearable when Jibrin was allegedly summoning heads of MDAs to his house on the budget. Members also resorted to going cap in hand to Jibrin for inclusion of some projects in the budget.

“When President Muhammadu Buhari returned the budget and the National Assembly was asked to review the padded areas, the Speaker called Jibrin for an update. But in what appeared a snub, he told Dogara: ‘Will you come down to my house to see what we are doing?’ He disrespected the Speaker who appointed him into office.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “Certainly, Jibrin will go on suspension for his affront against the leadership of the House. We won’t tolerate indiscipline.”

Another ranking member said Jibrin ran into trouble following an agreement between the Presidency and the National Assembly to jack up the Army and the Air Force estimates by N15billion.

The source said: “There were claiming for credit for the increase in the votes for the Army and the Air Force. Besides, members of the Appropriation Committee were shocked that there was subtle demand for gratification by a member.”

“The Committee was uncoordinated because of Jibrin’s attitude. In fact, most members of the committee had little input into the budget,” the source said, adding:

“ The Executive arm was also tired of Jibrin’s misdemeanour. At a point, some members of the Executive were always asking Dogara: ‘when will you remove that boy? Won’t there be sanctions from the House for those involved in budget padding?’ We got to this sorry state.”

A second term House member said: “We warned the Speaker against appointing Jibrin as the chairman of the Appropriation Committee because when he headed the Committee on Finance, his action made ex-Speaker Aminu Tambuwal to weep one day over a budgetary matter. This incident happened in the 7th National Assembly.

“Ex-Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso prevailed on the former Speaker not to suspend Jibrin. Tambuwal’s brother, Kwamkwaso’s bosom friend and the ex-governor asked his friend to beg the ex-Speaker to forgive Jibrin.

“All these people are alive; you can crosscheck these facts.

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