Nine out of the 10 principal officers of the House of Representatives kept sealed lips on Saturday over the latest N10billion allegations levelled against them by a former Chairman, Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin.
The officers are the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara; Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila; Deputy Leader, Buba Jibril; Deputy Whip, Pally Iriase; Minority Leader, Leo Ogor; Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyeama; Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde; and Deputy Minority Whip, Binta Bello-Maigeri.
Jibrin, whom the 10 principal officers said was sacked for “abusing” the 2016 budget, had earlier on July 21, accused Dogara, Lasun, the Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, and Ogor of padding the budget by over N40bn.
Jibrin, an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kano State, again on Friday, alleged that the officers had “embezzled” over N10bn allocated as ‘running costs’ between 2003 and this year.
But, only Ado-Doguwa responded to enquiries by Sunday PUNCH as of 4.30pm on Saturday.
Sunday PUNCH called and sent text messages to Dogara’s spokesman, Mr. Turaki Hassan, and Lasun’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Wole Oladimeji, but neither responded.
Similarly, calls and text messages made to Gbajabiamila and the six other principal officers were unanswered as of the time of filing this report.
But, Ado-Doguwa, who was the only one that responded, urged Nigerians to disregard Jibrin’s allegations as they came from a “man, who no longer has credibility.”
Ado-Doguwa claimed that Jibrin was unable to get over the fact that he had been sacked as a committee chairman.
Like Jibrin, Ado-Doguwa is from Kano State.
He stated, “There is nothing new to respond to. As far as I am concerned, all that Jibrin had said and whatever he may have to say in the future, are not true. They are baseless and false claims from a man, who up till now, has not come out of the shock of his removal as Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation.
“Jibrin has lost credibility in the face of the law and in the eyes of every reasonable Nigerian. He has no regard whatsoever for truth or falsehood. I therefore urge Nigerians to disregard every statement from Jibrin because they are malicious and unfounded.
“The fact is that, we now have a case of a man who is confused and demoralised and could therefore say all kinds of rubbish, thinking that Nigerians would believe him…
“A typical example of his inconsistencies is the way he now named all the 10 principal officers and not the only four he had earlier ‘allegedly indicted’.
“Jibrin is a sheer disappointment and an embarrassment to the National Assembly as an institution.”
Jibrin had claimed that the allowances of members, otherwise known as running cost, were converted to personal use by lawmakers as against being used to run services in their officers.
He promised to reveal how much each of the 360 members received as allowances, beginning with the 10 principal offices.