Suspension: Dogara blackmailed Reps with monthly largesse – Jibrin

By The Citizen

Former chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Saturday revealed that lawmakers in the lower chamber receive about N10 million as monthly running cost and allowances.

The amount, Jibrin said, has now remained a tool in the hands of Speaker Yakubu Dogara to blackmail the Reps for support in his suspension for one year (180 legislative days) last week, ignoring all the weighty allegations raised as he tried to prove that the 2016 budget was padded by the house leadership.

'All Mr Speaker did was to tacitly threaten members at the caucus before our resumption by reminding them of the running cost they pocket. That was why when Prof Bolaji Owasanoye and his colleagues asked me 'why are members silent,' I answered (that) most of them (us) are 'beneficiaries' of the largesse.

The revelation is coming years after individuals and advocacy groups- BudgIT have clamoured unsuccessfully for transparency in the finances of the National Assembly, despite assurances by Senate President Bukola Saraki, head of National Assembly to ensure transparency or Open NASS in NASS months ago.

The monthly allowances fraud, Jibrin continued in a series of tweets, 'is the least since the regime of this fraud started.

'At various times in the past Honourable members have received between N10 and N20 million averagely per month and often pocket the money,' following which he recalls often telling his colleagues that only international footballers like Mikel Obi, Pogba are known to earn such colossal amount monthly.

'A means was devised to receive part of the four-year cumulative of such money upfront. A member can take up to N200 to N400 million at once,' adding that while nobody says money should not be allocated to run activities of members, the problem was that the money was diverted for personal use.

'You can now understand my disappointment, frustration and anger when I listened to the shameless chair of Ethics, Honour Ossai and Media, Honourable Namdas and crooks like Honourable (Herman) Hembe, defending the fact that I was suspended because I falsely claim there exist systemic corruption in the House!!'

He said the House leadership is destroying the institution and not him, just as he believes that if President Muhammadu Buhari had acted on his allegations earlier, Nigerians would have concluded that the Presidency was using me to fight the House. This is against the backdrop of the fact that Dogara was not the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Speaker position, a blackmail he believes would have been difficult to deal with.

This is why, he believes, the President's silence is a blessing in disguise.

He restated his earlier claim that one of the nation's security agencies has withdrawn officers attached to him, making him vulnerable in the face of such persistent threats to his life and that of his family.

'I have however taken my destiny in my own hands. It is struggle I am committed to and no amount of threats or intimidation will deter me.

'I will use this period to convert my memoir into a book, teach at the university and enroll for a second PhD with research on economic diversification,' he added.

Jibrin had insisted, following his suspension from the House for one year and the demand for apology by his colleagues, that he does not regret all he said during the struggle.

The House had also barred him from holding any position in what is left of the eighth National Assembly in 2019. - Daily Independent.