Reps de­mand probe of Dog­ara, La­sun, others

Daily Trust - - FRONT PAGE - Photo: NAN By Musa Ab­dul­lahi Kr­ishi

Some members of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives yes­ter­day said an ex­ter­nal body should in­ves­ti­gate Speaker Yakubu Dog­ara and his deputy, Yus­suf Sulei­mon La­sun as well as two other prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers to as­cer­tain their role in the 2016 bud­get con­tro­versy.

The law­mak­ers, who came un­der a new group known as ‘Trans­parency Group,’ said the al­le­ga­tions lev­elled by the for­mer chair­man of the Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Com­mit­tee, Ab­dul­mu­min Jib­rin, against Dog­ara, La­sun, chief whip, Al­has­san Ado Doguwa and mi­nor­ity leader, Leo Ogor, were weighty enough to be in­ves­ti­gated by ex­ter­nal an­tigraft agen­cies.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence yes­ter­day in Abuja, five members of the group said the al­le­ga­tions were purely on the four prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers and not the en­tire House, and there­fore, dis­so­ci­ated them­selves from the press con­fer­ence held by the spokesman of the House, Ab­dulrazak Nam­das on Tues­day.

The group, which said its mem­ber­ship cuts across the six geopo­lit­i­cal zones and dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal par­ties, said they had at dif­fer­ent times raised the alarm over moves by pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers and some prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers of the House to in­sert un­nec­es­sary and il­le­gal projects into the Ap­pro­pri­a­tion Bill to take ad­van­tage of their re­spec­tive po­si­tions against the col­lec­tive na­tional in­ter­est.

Those present at the brief­ing were Reps Mo­hammed Soba (APC, Kaduna), Bashir Ba­balle (APC, Kano), Lawal Ya­haya (APC, Bauchi), Abubakar Chika (APC, Niger) and Yusuf Ikara (APC, Kaduna).

Read­ing the text of the press con­fer­ence, Soba said: “If Hon Jib­rin could be sac­ri­ficed as the ap­pro­pri­a­tion com­mit­tee chair­man due to com­plaints and al­le­ga­tions against him by the honourable members of the House, it is hyp­o­crit­i­cal for any­body to in­sin­u­ate that the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers and the prin­ci­pal of­fi­cers are im­mune from such com­plaints, al­le­ga­tions and sub­se­quent in­ves­ti­ga­tion.”

“Let those at the cen­tre of the con­tro­versy an­swer to all the al­le­ga­tions made against them in­di­vid­u­ally and col­lec­tively in line with leg­isla­tive prac­tice and our crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem,” the law­mak­ers said.

Asked about their numer­i­cal strength, the law­mak­ers said they were more than 100.

Dog­ara threat­ens le­gal ac­tion

Speaker Yakubu Dog­ara has given Jib­rin seven days to re­tract his al­le­ga­tions or face le­gal ac­tion.

The ul­ti­ma­tum is in a let­ter ad­dressed to Jib­rin by Dog­ara’s coun­sel, Pro­fes­sor Joash Ojo Amupi­tan (SAN).

It asked Jib­rin to re­tract the state­ment he is­sued Monday in which he al­leged that Dog­ara had been meet­ing with heads of MDAs and com­pelled com­pa­nies to grant loans, among other al­le­ga­tions.

But Jib­rin said he stood by his al­le­ga­tions and would not with­draw them. “I have re­sponded to their al­le­ga­tions; rather than re­spond to mine, he is rush­ing to court. I stand by my al­le­ga­tions and will not with­draw them! ...my lawyers have of­fi­cially ap­proached the EFCC and the ICPC.”

The new FCT Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice Muhammed Mustapha (left) takes over from his pre­de­ces­sor Al­kali Us­man, who is now the AIG Zone 7, at a cer­e­mony in Abuja yes­ter­day.

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