House of Representatives Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara has alleged that the former chairman of Appropriations Committee, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin, was removed for incompetence, abuse of budgetary process, serial betrayal and “proclivity to blackmail.”
At a press briefing in Abuja yesterday, the House spokesperson, Honourable Abdulrazak Namdas, said Jibrin had to go because his “highhandedness” could no longer be tolerated.
In the full press statement, Jibrin was accused of sundry acts of misconduct, incompetence, immaturity, total disregard for his colleagues and abuse of the budgetary process, among others.
The statement said “one of the fundamental reasons why the House leadership removed him is that he was found not to be fit and proper person to hold such a sensitive office which exposes him to high officials of government at all levels.
“Furthermore, in the course of the performance of his duties as chairman of Appropriations committee, it became evident that he does not possess the temperament and maturity required for such a high office.
“He was in the habit of collating, warehousing and manipulating sensitive information to blackmail people sometimes apparently for pecuniary purposes. And by virtue of his position as Appropriations chairman, he usually met with very high and senior public officers at all levels.
“The Speaker and the leadership were inundated with complaints by heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over harassment from the House Appropriations chairman to engage in conduct and acts unbecoming of their offices.
“The leadership launched an internal investigation into these allegations and was largely satisfied that action had to be taken to remove him, in the interest of the integrity of the House.
“Again, it was found out that he was fond of inserting projects into prominent persons’ constituencies without their knowledge to curry favour and possibly use it as a means of blackmail against them when necessary.”
Explaining the projects in the budget, Namdas said “zonal/constituency intervention projects have their origins in constitutional provisions as encapsulated in the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy requiring the government to ensure equitable distribution of resources and infrastructure.
“The idea of zonal/constituency intervention projects arose as a result of the need to carry every part of the country along in allocation of projects in the budget, and to address the imbalance in line with federal character principles as enshrined in the constitution.
“The entire annual budget estimates, once presented by Mr President, is referred to the Appropriations committee for further legislative input and scrutiny at the conclusion of the second reading.
“While it is prerogative of National Assembly members to decide the projects and their locations, it is the prerogative of the relevant MDAs to choose the contractors, award the projects and to execute.
“For emphasis, the general impression that monies are given to members of the National Assembly to execute projects is incorrect and unfounded.”
Meanwhile, the two factions in the House of Representatives in the budget padding scandal are now threatening themselves with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The key players want the EFCC to probe individual activities of one another in the sixth and seventh Assembly.
Jibrin, had, in a statement on Monday, said all he had revealed so far “is a child’s play compared to the mess and allegations of money laundering Speaker Dogara allegedly left behind as chairman, House Services in both the sixth and seventh Assembly.
The EFCC should have something to start working with in respect to his tenure as chairman, House services, if it properly dusts its files.