Reps demand probe of Dogara, Lasun, others
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.