…Principal officers got N10 bn running cost.
…House must be starting point of war against corruption.
EUCLID MYKE, Abuja
THE whistle blowing activities by the embattled former Chairman of House of Reps on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumini Jibrin gained further momentum on Friday following the revelation that the 10 principal officers of the House led by Speaker Yakubu Dogara allegedly received a whooping N10 billion as running cost since their coming to the House which they diverted to fund their lavish style, buy properties and latest exotic vehicles.
Jibrin, who gave a breakdown of the amount received by the principal officers under various sub heads, insists that such amount explains why politicians spend huge sums of money to get elected knowing fully that the loot that awaited their victory is overwhelming.
“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 1.5billion naira. Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun has been in the house from 2011 to date. He has received about 800million naira. House Leader Femi Gbajabiamila has been in the House from 2003 to date. He has received about 1.2billion naira. Deputy House Leader Buba has been in the House from 2007 to date. He received about 1.2billion naira.
“Whip Alhassan Doguwa has been in the House from 2003 to date. He has received about 1.2 billion naira. Deputy Whip Pally Iriase has been in the house from 2011 to date. He has received 700 million naira. Minority Leader Leo Ogor has been in the House from 2007 to date. He has received 1.2 billion naira. Deputy Minority Leader Barde has been in the House from 2011 to date. He has received 700 million naira. Minority Whip Chuma has been in the House from 2007 to date. He had received 800 million naira. And finally, Deputy Minority Whip Binta has been in the House from 2011 to date. She has received 700 million naira.
“So in between these 10 Principal Officers, the country has pumped about 10 billion naira – and still counting! As I have mentioned earlier, in most cases with few exceptions, these funds are diverted for personal use” Jibrin alleged.
He said that despite the clamour from various quarters that lawmakers should disclose their total take home and allowances, it has become a mission impossible due to volume of funds siphoned by the lawmakers under various guises.
He further said that monumental corruption is institutionalized in the National Assembly which makes it difficult for oversight functions to be effective adding that every effort by the executive to solve the socio-economic problem currently affecting the nation will meet a brick wall unless the National Assembly is sanitized, insisting that his objective is not just to unseat Dogara but to sanitize the House.
“My resolve to open up on the controversial allowances should be instructive to all those who think I am only out to get Speaker Dogara out of his seat. If that is my mission, I will definitely not go into the issue of allowances, which is the only aspect that unites the entire House.
“The imperative of having a corrupt-free House of Representatives cannot be over-emphasized. It is only when the legislature comes with purity that effective oversight will be carried out and investigative hearing to expose fraud and corruption can be undertaken. When the House is corrupt, it affects the whole country because the House of Representatives is the largest representation of Nigerians. This must be the starting point of the fight against corruption.
“I dare say the root of our economic, political and social problems as a country lies in the House. No amount of economic strategy will succeed in this country if we do not put hands together and decisively deal with corruption in the House”.
“Candidates usually spend so much money hoping that they can recoup from the huge allowances they will receive when elected into House. When you know that there is no such money in the House to be shared, I am sure nobody will want to put in so much money just to win an election to the House. The resultant effect will be that only people who truly want to serve will vie for the office, and voters will be obliged to vote according to the dictate of their conscience. This is just one advantage.
“Most of these members use it to acquire properties, cars and live a life of luxury they never lived before coming to the House. Though there exist systems for retirement of such money but a simple investigation by a primary school pupil will reveal the massive fraud therein” said Jibrin.