Embattled former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Rep. Abdulmunin Jibrin has written President Mohammadu Buhari insisting on the prosecution of the quartet he indicted in the budget padding scandal rocking the National Assembly.
Rep. Jibrin in the letter written from his overseas base where he is seeking refuge, challenged the president to take immediate action against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the three other Principal Officers of the House of Representatives he accused of perpetrating fraud and systemic corruption in the House.
He called on Buhari to ensure that urgent reforms are implemented in the House to sanitize it from the monumental individual and systemic corruption that has become the biggest business in the House of Representatives.
He said in the letter to the president, which he made available to the media, on Friday, that “although, I wrote you a letter few weeks ago, seeking audience to provide you with comprehensive briefing on the allegations l raised and the endemic corruption in the House, l am yet to get a reply.
“However, I fully understand that your busy schedule might have caused the delay. Had I got that opportunity before I left the country, I am optimistic that you would have by now been in a clearer picture of how corrupt the Speaker, our number four citizen is and the three other Principal Officers, individual and systemic corruption in the House and my crusade to continue to expose corruption in the House, Nigeria as a whole and push for urgent reforms in the House.”
He said in the letter that he opted to write the open letter to Buhari because he is aware of the powerful forces working behind the scene in cohort with some members of the House leadership to deny him access to the presidency and ensure that the allegations he leveled against the quartet never sees the light of the day.
According to him, his offense that has resulted in his suspension emanated from “standing against budget fraud, immunity for Principal Officers of the House and exposing corruption in a way that has never been done or seen in the history of the House of Representatives.
“I am a product of the establishment but I have always been uncomfortable and have always looked for the right opportunity or trigger to rebel against the ills of the system through exposing fraudulent acts, corruption and abuse of office in high places for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians.
“My case, whether people believe me or not, is that of a young man who is frustrated with the deep-rooted system of corruption in high places. I have decided that enough is enough and I am ready to take on any corrupt person or institution especially the House of Representatives.
“Some people have raised issue that why did I wait until I left office before opening up. That assertion is not true as I have always spoken within and outside on issues like this since I joined the House in 2011. A simple research will confirm this.”
Jibrin expressed shock that instead of the House asking Dogara and the fingered principal officers of the House to step aside to allow for an independent investigation of the allegations of budget fraud and abuse of office, based on his petitions to the anti-graft agencies, the House decided to punish him for exposing corruption, while celebrating the people he accused of corruption.
“The Speaker of course, took advantage of the deep-rooted systemic corruption in the House to blackmail members to support him. I have been suspended from the House for a year and banned from holding any position for the rest of the 8th Assembly and I must apologise to the House before I am allowed back even after the expiration of the one year suspension.
“Sir, this is an institution that is supposed to support you in fighting corruption. You have taken on corruption and corrupt people decisively; the crusade will be incomplete if corrupt elements are allowed to infest the Legislative arm especially the House of Representatives.
“You should by now know that you will never get the required support to fight corruption with Dogara as Speaker of the House and most importantly if reforms are not implemented in the House,” he added.
The suspended lawmaker further accused the speaker of employing blackmailing to ensure that the allegations are not investigated and the culprits prosecuted, asserting that “in your case, since they cannot find issues of corruption associated with you, they will resort to frustrating any request you forward to the House for approval with a view to arm-twisting you or trying to weaken you in the eyes of the public and international community. This is how they operate. You should watch out and be vigilant.”
Lastly, he implored the president to end the fraudulent allowances regime that members of the House are entitled to by making public “all the entitlements of House members, stop budget fraud, disclose internal budget of the House, open up finances of the House for external audit, implement e-parliament, activate electronic voting and attendance system, introduce individual members and standing committees’ performance template, revert to old House rules to avoid contempt of court and draconian powers Speaker Dogara accorded himself.”
Also, he tasked Buhari to ensure that “Dogara and others refund hundreds of millions collected for rents, return N40 billion stolen from the N100 billion zonal intervention funds, return projects diverted to his farm and other fraudulent projects worth billions, compel Speaker Dogara and other accused Principal Officers to step down for prosecution and make the House apologise to Nigerians for the individual and systemic fraud and corruption and gross abuse of office that has become the hallmark of the House over the years.
“I strongly believe that if the security and anti-graft agencies expedite action on the allegations and the recommended reforms are implemented, it will go a long way in resolving the crisis and provide the ventilation for the House to commence the process of self-cleansing to repair its battered image and restore the trust of Nigerians in the House. It is a reform that Speaker Dogara has completely lost the moral ground to superintend.”
Justifying why he sought refuge overseas, Jibrin informed the president of the threat to his life since the beginning of the budget fraud saga, adding that “I have raised alarm severally that the House cabal led by Speaker Dogara are using Rep. Herma Hembe to either assassinate or kidnap me or members of my family.
“Rep. Hembe has been stalking me. I have been worried and written to the security agencies but none of these people have been questioned. In fact, at some point, they tried to use some elements in one of the security agencies to abduct me.
“It is against this background that I took the decision to stay away from the country until my safety is guaranteed. However, I will be available once my attention is required in respect of my petition against the Speaker and others or any petition that may come against me. I am therefore pleading with you Sir to look at this issue with your usual dispassionate approach”, he concluded.