Buhari’s Silence on Budget Padding Worrying – Abdulmumin Jibrin

Former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to end his long silence about the budget fraud allegations in the House.

The Brief had reported how Jibrin had continually accused the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and other principal officers of fraudulently padding the 2016 budget.

Jibrin had once, in a statement issued on October 1, described the president’s silence as “a blessing in disguise.”

However, in this latest statement, written in the form of an open letter, which is the first time Jibrin will be addressing the President directly, he 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,” Jibrin said.

The letter is coming a few days after Jibrin, who was suspended by the House as a result of his allegations, 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.

Jibrin 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,” Jibrin said.

“We have a golden opportunity to show the world that there is zero tolerance for corruption under your leadership.”

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

“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,” Jibrin said.

Dogara has repeatedly denied all the allegations of budget padding against him.

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.