OPEN LETTER TO MR. PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA- MUHAMMADU BUHARI GCFC
ON BUDGET FRAUD AND CORRUPTION IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Your Excellency sir, let me once again commend you for the good work you are executing and the credible leadership you have offered our nation since assumption of office about a year and half ago.
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 leveled against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three other Principal Officers of the House of Representatives and use your good office to ensure that urgent reforms are implemented in the House to sanitize it from the monumental individual and systemic corruption that has become the biggest business in the House of Representatives.
Although I wrote you a letter few weeks ago, seeking audience to provide you with comprehensive briefing on the allegations i raised and endemic corruption in the House, I am yet to get a reply. However, I fully understand that your busy schedule might have caused the delay. Had I got that opportunity before I left the country, I am optimistic that you would have by now been in a clearer picture of how corrupt the Speaker, our number four citizen is and the three other Principal Officers, individual and systemic corruption in the House and my crusade to continue to expose corruption in the House, Nigeria as a whole and push for urgent reforms in the House.
I crave the indulgence of your excellency to pardon me for resorting to an open letter to draw your attention to this matter. The need to deal with the matter decisively and the urgency involved necessitated opting for this channel. Besides, I am aware of some powerful forces working behind the scene in cohort with some members of leadership of the House to ensure that I never get access to you and the matter never see the light of the day.
Your Excellency, i attained a modest educational and career height before joining the House. I come from a good home with a rich and diversed background. My middle class parents brought me up in a very disciplined environment and instilled in me the virtues of hard work, honesty and courage. It is a training that taught me never to respect a corrupt person no matter how highly placed. I am a responsible young man with no passion for vengeance or mischief. I know exactly where I am coming from and where I am heading. I know exactly what I am doing sir.
Sir, it is noteworthy to mention that in my 5 years in the House as a two term member and Chairman House Committee on Finance 2011-2015 and Chairman House Committee on Appropriation 2015-2016, I have never abused my office or corruptly enrich myself. My offense was standing against budget fraud, immunity for Principal Officers of the House and exposing corruption in a way that has never been done or seen in the history of the House of Representatives.
I am a product of the establishment but I have always been uncomfortable and have always looked for the right opportunity or trigger to rebel against the ills of the system through exposing fraudulent acts, corruption and abuse of office in high places for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians. My case whether people believe me or not is that of a young man who is frustrated with the deep-rooted system of corruption in high places.
I have decided that enough is enough and I am ready to take on any corrupt person or institution especially the House of Representatives. Some people have raised issue that why did I wait until I left office before opening up. That assertion is not true as I have always spoken within and outside on issues like this since I joined the House in 2011. A simple research will confirm this.
Your Excellency, in the last few months I have raised grievous allegations of budget fraud, abuse of office and individual and systemic corruption against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three other Principal Officers of the House. I followed it with a petition to the security and anti graft agencies including the DSS, EFCC, ICPC and the Police. I have had several interactions with these agencies and pledged my continuous cooperation and willingness to stand witness during prosecution.
I took it for granted that the House on resumption from recess will do the needful by asking the Speaker to step aside and conduct a comprehensive investigation in collaboration with the ongoing external investigation, but what my colleagues did remains a shock to the country and the world at large. They decided to punish me for exposing corruption, while celebrating the people I accused of corruption.
The Speaker of course took advantage of the deep-rooted systemic corruption in the House to blackmail members to support him. I have been suspended from the House for a year and banned from holding any position for the rest of the 8th Assembly and I must apologise to the House before I am allowed back even after the expiration of the 1 year suspension.
Sir, this is an institution that is supposed to support you in fighting corruption. You have taken on corruption and corrupt people decisively, the crusade will be incomplete if corrupt elements are allowed to infest the Legislative arm especially the House of Representatives. You should by now know that you will never get the required support to fight corruption with Dogara as Speaker of the House and most importantly if reforms are not implemented in the House.
Your Excellency, let me use this opportunity to inform you that I have challenged my suspension in court because it is unconstitutional and the seat belongs to my constituents who are proud of my anti-corruption crusade in the House. My constituents have also filed a case in court to challenge the suspension. I have also stated clearly that I will never apologise to any member in the House or the House itself as I did not commit any offense and I will continue to stand by all the allegations I raised.
Sir, I should also bring to your notice that the Speaker is making frantic efforts to ensure that this matter is suppressed. They will do all they can, including blackmailing you to ensure that the matter is not investigated and culprits prosecuted. In your case, since they cannot find issues of corruption associated with you, they will resort to frustrating any request you forward to the House for approval with a view to arm twisting you or trying to weaken you in the eyes of the public and international community. This is how they operate. You should watch out and be vigilant.
On issue of reforms, your excellency may wish to use your good office to decisively get the House TO END THE FRAUDULENT ALLOWANCES REGIME and publish all entitlements of members, stop budget fraud, disclose internal budget of the House, open up finances of the House for external audit, implement e-parliament, activate electronic voting and attendance system, introduce individual member’s and standing committees’ performance template, revert to old house rules to avoid contempt of court and draconian powers Speaker Dogara accorded himself, drop immunity for Principal Officers, pass the anti corruption bills sent about a year ago by your good self, make Speaker Dogara and others refund hundred of millions collected for rents, return 40 billion stolen from 100 billion zonal intervention funds, return projects diverted to his farm and other fraudulent projects worth billions, compel Speaker Dogara and other accused Principal Officers to step down for prosecution and make the House apologise to Nigerians for the individual and systemic fraud and corruption and gross abuse of office that has become the hallmark of the House over the years.
Your Excellency, the House of Representatives stinks of corruption and something urgent must be done to salvage the situation. 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.
We have a golden opportunity to show the world that there is zero tolerance for corruption under your leadership. Even more, is the willingness of a serving member in my person who understands these issues and who has offered to stand as witness and provide every support towards prosecution. There is no better way of demonstrating our commitment to the fight against corruption than to use Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun, Whip Doguwa and Minority Leader Ogor as example.
I strongly believe that if the security and anti-graft agencies expedite action on the allegations and the recommended reforms are implemented, it will go a long way in resolving the crisis and provide the ventilation for the House to commence the process of self-cleansing to repair its battered image and restore the trust of Nigerians in the House. It is a reform that Speaker Dogara has completely lost the moral ground to superintend.
Your Excellency, let me draw your attention to a major constraint which has always been the threat to my life since the beginning of the budget fraud saga. I have raised alarm severally that the House cabal led by Speaker Yakubu Dogara are using Hon. Herma Hembe to either assassinate or kidnap me or members of my family. Hon. Hembe has been stalking me.
I have been worries. and written to the security agencies but none of these people have been questioned. In fact at some point, they tried to use some elements in one of the security agencies to abduct me. All these were reported by my lawyers.
It is against this background that I took the decision to stay away from the country until my safety is guaranteed. However, 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. I am therefore pleading with you sir to look at this issue with your usual dispassionate approach.
For whatever my limitations are as a person, how I am treated will determine if in future people especially those within a system can defy personal risk and speak out against corruption.
I pray that God Almighty continue to bless you with long life, good health and more wisdom as you steer the ship of our great country.
Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, PhD MBA
Kiru-Bebeji Federal Constituency