My suspension will give me more opportunity to dig deep into budget padding scandal – Jibrin

Suspended lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Saturday said President Buhari’s hands-off approach to the budget padding scandal was actually “a blessing in disguise”.

Mr. Jibrin has accused the leadership of the House of Representatives of fraud.

His colleagues accused him of denting the image of the National Assembly, and suspended him on Wednesday for 180 legislative days following a brief inquiry.

A defiant Mr. Jibrin said his suspension could not have come at a better time as it would now afford him the opportunity to launch a full-scale legal assault against the House.

“At this point, I must say they freed me up to concentrate on the matter in court,” Mr. Jibrin said hours after he was suspended. “I’m going into a massive alliance with civil society groups, NGOs and well-meaning Nigerian to continue to press ahead.”

In his statement Saturday, which he tagged as his Independence Day compliments to Nigerians, Mr. Jibrin said his cause could have been defeated if Mr. Buhari had weighed in on the allegations of budget fraud in the House from the onset.

“If Mr. President had jumped into the matter at the early stage, trust Nigerians, they would have concluded that the presidency is using me to fight the House,” Mr. Jibrin said. ”Such perception and blackmail would have been difficult to deal with. The silence of Mr. President on this matter is a blessing in disguise”

He, however, highlighted areas in which the president could help bolster his “whistle-blowing” duties.

“Anybody who can reach Mr. President should inform him that in the face of several threats to my life and that of my family, one of the security agencies had suddenly withdrawn its officers protecting me,” Mr. Jibrin said. “This has made me vulnerable in the face of such persistent threats.”

Mr. Jibrin allegations were largely targeted at Speaker Yakubu Dogara and a few other lawmakers who he said connived to remove him as the Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation in July.

Mr. Jibrin said his independence of mind made him an unwelcome figure among the House leadership, which he castigated as being “stinkingly corrupt”.

Mr. Dogara and other lawmakers have denied the allegations.

But Mr. Jibrin stood his ground, releasing details of how Mr. Dogara and other lawmakers, including himself, were pocketing illegal allowances.

Mr. Jibrin repeated the charges in his statement Saturday, saying he had informed members of the Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption about how he and his colleagues were stealing public funds while the majority of Nigerians grappled with poverty.

“That was why when Bolaji Owasanoye and his colleagues at PACAC asked me why are my colleagues silent, I answered (that) most of us are “beneficiaries,” Mr. Jibrin said.

The House said it will investigate Mr. Jibrin’s allegations if he presented them before the Ethics and Privileges Committee.

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