A new report has emerged on how several billions of naira disappeared from House of Representatives illegally.
Abdulmumin Jibrin, the former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, has alleged that the House Speaker Yakubu Dogara; his deputy Lasun Suleiman Yusuf; House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, and other principal officers of the House received illegal allowances totaling N10 billion. This latest allegation was contained in a statement issued by Mr. Jibrin.
Explaining his decision to expose the House leadership, Jubrin said: “In line with my resolve to continue to expose individual and systemic corruption in the House of Representatives, I will today commence the disclosure of what many Nigerians believe is almost impossible to reveal or are not even aware of – the allowances of Members of the House.”
Mr. Jibrin proceeded to challenge the House leadership to tell the public exactly how much they have earned in allowances instead of starting a drama. According to Mr. Jibrin, Mr. Dogara, who has been a member of the House since 2007, received N1.5 billion in inappropriate allowances.
Mr. Yusuf, the Deputy Speaker, a member of the House since 2001, and Gbajabiamila, a member since 2003, have earned N800 million and N1.5 billion respectively in dubious allowances according to him.
Mr. Jirbin’s statement continued by saying: the Deputy House Leader, Umar Buba Jubril, received N1.2 billion since 2003. The Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa received N1.7 billion since 2007. The Deputy Chief Whip, Pally Iriase is alleged to have illegally earned N700 million since 2011. Leo Ogor the Minority Leader got N1.2 billion since 2003.
The Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyema, has pocketed N800 million; the Minority Whip Yakubu Umar Barde got N1. 2 billion; and the Deputy Minority Whip, Binta Bello, is said to have received N700 million.
Mr. Jibrin admitted to earning N650 million in allowances but said he was not comfortable pocketing such.
Mr. Jibrin reiterated his willingness to testify against the principal officers and to continue to cooperate with the anti-corruption agencies. He said, “I have done my part and left the rest to the anti-corruption agencies, the judiciary and Nigerians. After the allowances issue, the next exposé will delve into investigative hearings and oversight activities.
“My resolve to open up on the controversial allowances should be instructive to all those who think I am only out to get Speaker Dogara out of his seat.
“If that is my mission, I will definitely not go into the issue of allowances, which is the only aspect that unites the entire House.
“I have said it repeatedly that this activism has been running in my blood, and thankfully the fallout of the 2016 budget became the trigger and provided me with the right avenue. I always take solace in the fact that posterity will judge not only members of the House but our leaders and Nigerians as a whole on how they support or oppose Speaker Dogara and the other accused Principal Officers’ avaricious move to hold on to power in the face of these mounting accusations,” Mr. Jibrin said.
The legislator added that if members of the House and the public remain comfortable with Mr. Dogara in office, despite the allegations against him and the other principal officers, then he is ready to continue his crusade alone.
“The imperative of having a corrupt-free House of Representatives cannot be over-emphasized.
“It is only when the legislature comes with purity that effective oversight will be carried out and investigative hearings to expose fraud and corruption can be undertaken. When the House is corrupt, it affects the whole country because the House of Representatives is the largest representation of Nigerians.
“This must be the starting point of the fight against corruption. I dare say the root of our economic, political and social problems as a country lies in the House. No amount of economic strategy will succeed in this country if we do not put hands together and decisively deal with corruption in the House,” he argued.
He explained that dealing with corruption in the House, especially dubious allowances, will change the way elections are contested. Candidates, he said, usually spend so much money, hoping to recoup such from the huge allowances they will receive when elected into House.
“When you know that there is no such money in the House to be shared, I am sure nobody will want to put in so much money just to win an election to the House. The resultant effect will be that only people who truly want to serve will vie for the office, and voters will be obliged to vote according to the dictate of their conscience,” Mr. Jibrin reasoned.