ABDULMUMIN Jibrin, former House chairman of Appropriation has sensationally revealed that the House of Representatives of which he is a member is corrupt.
Jibrin, who spoke on a live telecast on Channels TV yesterday, when asked if former President Olusegun Obasanjo was right in saying the National Assembly was corrupt, said: “Yes, we’re corrupt.”
Jubrin had accused Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy, Yusuf Lasun, House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa, and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, of padding the 2016 Appropriation Bill with up to N40 billion.
Speaking yesterday, Jibrin said: “There is corruption in the House of Representatives, and not only is there corruption, there is institutional corruption. These are things that I can prove and it is what my struggle is about. Obasanjo is not completely wrong in saying that lawmakers are corrupt; the only thing is that we keep living in denial. I have been part of that system and I know that there is corruption in the system. There is also institutional corruption. I have been there for five years and I have seen a lot and I am so happy that something has triggered it. We want to take advantage of this trigger to address the issues at the National Assembly to force reforms. People are looking at it from a narrow perspective, but it is a bigger problem. This issue is going to lead to a revolution in the National Assembly. There are lot of issues that needs to be dealt with. The issue of corruption needs to be dealt with. The issues regarding the conduct of members would also be dealt with.”
He said statistics was needed to ascertain the exact figures inserted into the budget.
“The amount inserted was about N284 billion. Technically, it was a movement of money here and there in the budget. For five years, working on budgets as chairman Finance, I have never seen this kind of situation. I didn’t know there was some kind of recklessness in the past, but not as bad as this. I saw some kind of insertions into the budget in years past, but in 2016, the insertions completely went off the board.
“Even though the law allows it, personally, I believe that the insertions were too much. It is also very important that the constitution gives us the power to appropriate and insert, but the intention of the constitution is not for you to make senseless insertions. These are the issues that I fought internally. There were a lot of senseless insertions. The fact that we are talking about our own side does not mean there were no problems from the executive. There were issues with the budget team at the budget office and those issues are still there. There were so many tussles between the ministry of finance and the budget office.
“My problem was that I was not talking. I came to the National Assembly and I was made to believe that when one is chairman of finance, you have to live and die with certain information. Also, if you a chairman of Appropriation, you have to be a custodian of information, meaning there are a lot of things you must not say. I actually lived with that kind of mentality for the past five years in House.
“Between when the committees brought in the reports and when the first version of the budget went to the president, so much happened. My colleagues were asking me, but I could not tell them that Speaker tried to insert project worth N30 billion and that he was conspiring with the deputy speaker, Leo Ogor and the rest to hijack the entire process and allocate to themselves projects worth over N20 billion of wasteful project.”
Jibrin said after complaining to Speaker that he was uncomfortable with the number of insertions, they opened up discussions with some persons.
“It was in-between that we saw the president and the speaker took an offence for the reason best known to him,” Jibrin said.
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