THERE is no resolution in sight in the budget padding imbroglio the House of Representatives is enmeshed in as Speaker Yakubu Dogara, yesterday gave his arch-enemy, former chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, seven-day ultimatum to retract and apologise for his recent public pronouncements against him.
Dogara, in a letter written by his lawyers, Professor Joash Amupitan and Co., said Jibrin should expect grave consequences should he fail to retract and apologise for the publication of a series of “libellous” materials in the media which he claimed were actuated by vendetta owing to his “recent removal as the Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation.”
The letter said: “Take notice that in the event of your failure/refusal to comply with the above-mentioned demands within seven days of your receipt of this letter, we have further instructions to institute a suit against you in a court of law.”
The counsel said the Speaker had been subjected to “public opprobrium, odium, scorn and ridicule” following Jibrin’s allegations, which were widely circulated in the media.
“Consequently, we consider your publication on the matter as not only libellous but made in bad faith,” said the letter.
But Jibrin has vowed not to tender any apology.
In a series of tweets reacting to the Speaker’s statements, Jibrin wrote: “I will not and will never apologise to a shameless fraud in high office who has glaringly abused public trust like speaker Dogara and three others.”
The Kano lawmaker representing Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency in the National Assembly described the legal action threats by Speaker Dogara as “quite predicable.”
Jibrin wrote through his verified twitter account, “@AbdulAbmJ “I know he will rush to court in order to invoke the house rules that matter in court cannot be heard on the floor.
“He failed to realise that the law is not intended to protect corrupt people. It is such a shame.”
Jibrin also announced that his lawyer’s have approached the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) as well as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
“I am happy to announce that my lawyers have officially approached the EFCC and the ICPC towards working out a date for me to personally submit my petition against Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leo Ogor,” he wrote.
“I believe once a date is agreed with the anti-corruption agencies, we would have begun the process of making these characters pay for abusing their office,” his tweet read.
Jibrin, had demanded the immediate resignation of Dogara and the three other principal officers over alleged budget padding. He accused them of allocating N40 billion to themselves out of N100 billion earmarked for the constituency projects of all lawmakers.
Meanwhile, the Pan-Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere has called for indepth probe into the allegation against some members of the National Assembly, even as it declared its support for the anti-corruption crusade of the President Buhari-led government.
The foremost Yoruba ethnic group called on President Buhari to do everything to ensure sanity in the National Assembly, stressing that “the current revelations have shown that there is corruption in the National Assembly.”
Rising from its monthly meeting held at the residence of its leader, Chief Rueben Fasoranti in Akure, Afenifere urged President Buhari to extend his anti-corruption war to all sectors and ensure that the monies recovered are spent for the welfare of Nigerians.
Also, the Civil Legislative Advocacy Centre, (CISLAC), challenged the National Assembly to come clean on the various scandals that has continued to bedevil and dent her image in the estimation of citizens.