THE House Committee on Appropriation yesterday disowned its former chairman Abdulmumin Jibrin, saying his recent allegations against Speaker Yakubu Dogara are completely untrue.
The lawmakers expressed disappointment that Jibrin has been economical with the truth as they disclosed that it was the former chairman who kept the budget to himself for three weeks, working on it without input from other members of the committee.
Vice-Chairman of the Committee, Chris Azubogu who addressed the press at the National Assembly in company with other members of the committee, however agreed that Jibrin, being the Chairman of the Committee has the prerogative of completing the budget, especially to meet deadlines.
He opined that the argument over the insertion of 2000 projects worth N284b by 10 committee chairmen, which was not known to other members of Appropriation Committee, could be blamed on Jibrin for hijacking the budget for weeks.
The Committee, while urging Nigerians to allow the budget padding issue to be addressed by internal mechanism, defended the Speaker on alleged insertion of projects to his constituency and farm.
But Jirin has denied hijacking the budget, saying Azubogu and eight others who spoke with the press yesterday were bribed with $20,000 to castigate him.
He said: “It is also a blatant lie that I disappeared. I was always at home since we were on a short break. Even more shocking is the fact that my Deputy, Hon Chris Azubogu who was regularly at my home during that period and always enjoying his favorite wheat and vegetable soup can go on national TV for a price of $20,000 to tell such shameful lies.
“Well, CCTV don’t tell lies. The period that my colleagues didn’t see me were the two occasions that Speaker Dogara and others took away my secretariat. At least, now you know that your budget was with Mr Speaker not me”
But the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Speaker, C.I.D Maduabum who Jibrin accussed of bribing the lawmaker on behalf of his principal has stongly denied giving the members of the committee any money.
“I wish to state that I did not at any time meet or hand over any money of any sort to any member of the House Appropriations Committee. This accusation is not only a lie but pure fiction, a figment of his imagination, which can only come from a man whose soul is deeply corrupted”, he said.