Budget padding scandal: Jibrin writes Buhari


Suspended lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has written an open letter to
President Muhammadu Buhari, imploring him to end his long silence about
the budget fraud allegations in the
House of Representatives.

It is the first time the embattled lawmaker will write directly to the
president since the controversy broke out —and he used it to attack
Speaker Yakubu Dogara and other usual targets.

In the letter, emailed to PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Jibrin said he decided to
write the president and copy the public after all his efforts to have an
audience with the him were frustrated.
“I write this letter to you as a last resort to seek action on the
allegations of budget fraud, abuse of office and corruption I levelled
against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three other Principal Officers of the
House of Representatives,” Mr. Jibrin said.

The letter came a few days after he said he’d gone on exile partly
because of the president’s reluctance to intervene in the scandal which
has been rocking the National Assembly for four months.

“The silence of the presidency is no longer sending the right message to
Nigerians and the international community,” Mr. Jibrin said in a
statement on November 7.

In his letter on Friday, Mr. Jibrin, who was suspended on September 28
over his face off with lawmakers, informed the president about alleged
sharp practices of House members and called on him to act.

“Your Excellency, the House of Representatives stinks of corruption and
something urgent must be done to salvage the situation,” Mr. Jibrin
said. “We have a golden opportunity to show the world that there is zero
tolerance for corruption under your leadership.”

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Mr. Jibrin said the president should order prioritised investigation
into the padding claims with a focus on bringing culpable members to

“I pray that you direct the various agencies that I submitted petitions
to expedite action on the matter as Nigerians and the world are watching
to see how we will deal with this issue of incontrovertible corruption
by Speaker Dogara and others and systemic corruption in the House,” Mr.
Jibrin said.

Mr. Dogara’s spokesman, Turaki Hassan, declined comments on Friday
night. But his principal has repeatedly denied all the allegations of
budget padding against him.

The demands for Mr. Buhari’s intervention stand in sharp contrast from
Mr. Jibrin’s October 1 statement in which he described the president’s
silence as “a blessing in disguise.”
“If Mr. President had jumped into the matter at the early stage, trust
Nigerians, they would have concluded that the presidency is using me to
fight the House,” Mr. Jibrin said in his Independence Day statement.
”Such perception and blackmail would have been difficult to deal with.”

The lawmaker went on exile last week, sparking speculation that he fled
the country to avoid a pending charges against him by the authorities.
But he denied fleeing from prosecution, said he travelled because his
safety was not guaranteed in Nigeria and he’ll return to the country
when invited to testify in the budget fraud investigation.

“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,” he said.

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