Consequent upon his removal as the chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin continues an onslaught against the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and some other principal officers, but attempts to exonerate himself from the allegations are untenable writes ADEBIYI ADEDAPO
A director in the federal civil service who retired after 35 years or at the attainment of the compulsory retirement age of 60 years would earn less than N10 million as gratuity, while a lawmaker who probably got elected into the national assembly through fraudulent means earns N650 million as running cost just within five years, and about N1.2 billion just within nine years.
This is unconnected to the regular sitting allowance, quarterly allowance and other benefits in whatever guise.
According to Abdulmumini, running cost is collected by many members and used as personal funds.
“Most of these members use it to acquire properties, cars and live a life of luxury which they never lived before coming to the House. Though there exists, systems for retirement of such money, a simple investigation by a primary school pupil will reveal the massive fraud therein.”
Any lawmaker who shared in this largess for four years, eight years or more and struggled to return for continuity, only to turn around and question the system when relationships went sour is obviously exhibiting a character of double standard.
Former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) now Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, in 2010 disclosed that only the national assembly gulps 25 per cent overhead annual budget of the country while legislators at the time claimed it was 3.5 per cent.
The Emir, while delivering a lecture at the University of Benin, as CBN governor in 2010, noted that the situation whereby 25 per cent of the overhead of the federal government was spent by the national assembly was unhealthy for the country and its economy.
However, despite the denials, and deliberate effort to frustrate public declaration of the emoluments and allowances of federal legislators, a self-acclaimed whistle blower in the lower chamber of the national assembly is giving Nigerians a clue.
“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. I have exposed the mismanagement and non-disclosure of the internal budget of the House,” he said.
The embattled lawmaker disclosed that a cumulative of about N10 billion has been allotted to 10 principal officers of the House from their inception at the legislative chamber.
According to Abdulmumini; “From computation of various sub heads of allowances of the House, Speaker Yakubu Dogara has been in the House from 2007 to date, he has received about N1.5billion, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun has been in the house from 2011 to date, he has received about N800million, House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila has been in the House from 2003, he has received about N1.2billion. Deputy House Leader Buba has been in the House from 2007, he received about N1.2billion. Chief Whip Alhassan Doguwa has been in the House from 2003, received about N1.2 billion. Deputy Whip Pally Iriase has been in the house from 2011, he received N700 million. Minority Leader Leo Ogor has been in the House from 2007, he has received N1.2 billion, Deputy Minority Leader Yakubu Umar Barde has been in the House from 2011, received N700 million naira. Minority Whip Chuma has been in the House from 2003, received N1.2 billion and finally, Deputy Minority Whip Binta Bello has been in the House from 2011 has received N700 million.”
Interestingly, Abdulmumini admitted that only N650 million was allotted to him from 2011 when he was first elected to represent the people of Kiru-Bebeji federal constituency in Kano state. And he promised to account for the money.
“Abdulmumin Jibrin has been in the House 2011, and collected N650 million, I have records and account of how I spent every penny that I have taken. Infact it has been published in a 150 page bookHowever, I have never been comfortable with the money, thank God the wasteful allowances regime has reached its Waterloo, the country and House will be better off,” he disclosed.
The erstwhile lawmaker had shortly after he was ousted as the committee chair, alleged that the Speaker of the House Yakubu Dogara; the Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun: House Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa, and the Minority Leader Leo Ogor, of amongst other accusations padded the 2016 budget with about N40 billion.
But in the same budget, Abdulmumini admitted that like the Speaker Dogara and others, an insertion of a N4.8 billion project was allotted to his constituency on the strength of his own request.
Undoubtedly, whistle blower has raised very weighty allegations which should not be swept under the carpet; his inability to exonerate himself from all the corrupt practices he exposed brings to mind the case of the pot calling the kettle black.
Irrespective of this, the revelations will help Nigerians understand the insincerity of people in government, before now, no one dares to speak the truth.