Budget padding: Jibrin should undergo psychiatric tests –Reps

Leaders of the House of Representatives said on Sunday that psychiatric tests should be conducted on its former Chairman, Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, to ascertain whether he was not facing health challenges.

It was learnt that the leaders were taken aback by Jibrin’s latest allegations that they pocketed “illegal” N10bn as office allowances between 2003 and this year, had also said his sudden change of focus from budget-padding allegations to the allowances of members, might be proof that he needed medical attention.

Jibrin, an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Kano State, had on Friday last week, alleged that the 10 principal officers of the House had “embezzled” over N10bn allocated as “running costs” between 2003 and this year.

The officers are the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara; Deputy Speaker, Yussuff  Lasun; House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila; Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa;  Deputy Leader, Buba Jibril; Deputy Whip, Pally Iriase; Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor ;Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuka Onyeama; Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde; and Deputy Minority Whip, Binta Bello-Maigeri.

Jibrin, whom the principal officers said was sacked for “abusing” the 2016 budget, had earlier on July 21, accused Dogara, Lasun,  Ado-Doguwa, and Ogor of padding the budget by over N40bn.

But, Ogor, who conveyed the feeling of the leaders to The PUNCH in Abuja, said the rate Jibrin “churns out baseless figures” suggested that his “head should be examined urgently.”

Ogor spoke more, “His case is fast getting out of hands. Honestly, he needs help to stop peddling lies and to deliberately rubbish the names of his colleagues and the institution of the National Assembly.

“I have seen that this man has an issue with his head and he should see a psychiatrist. Tests should be conducted on him urgently. I don’t know what he stands to gain by peddling lies against his colleagues.”

The former appropriation chairman had alleged that the allowances collected by members were converted to personal use as against being used to run services in their officers.

By Jibrin’s computation, Dogara, an APC member from Bauchi State, who came to the House in 2007, has received N1.5bn to date.

For Lasun, Jibrin alleged that the APC lawmaker from Osun State had collected “about” N800m since he came to the National Assembly in 2011.

Similarly, he accused Gbajabiamila, who came to the House in 2003, of pocketing N1.2bn.

He gave the figures of the other principal officers thus, “Deputy House Leader, Buba, has been in the House from 2007 to date.  He received about N1.2bn. Whip, Alhassan Doguwa, has been in the House from 2003 to date. He has received about N1.2bn. Deputy Whip, Pally Iriase, has been in the House from 2011 to date. He has received N700m. Minority, Leader Leo Ogor, has been in the House from 2007 to date. He has received N1.2bn. Deputy Minority Leader, Barde, has been in the House from 2011 to date. He has received N700m. Minority Whip, Chuma, has been in the House from 2007 to date. He had received N800m. And finally, Deputy Minority Whip, Binta has been in the House from 2011 to date. She has received N700m.”

By his own account, Jibrin concluded that, “In between these 10 principal officers, the country has pumped about N10bn and still counting.”

The development came as the House, through its Committee on Legislative Budget and Research, asked the Federal Government to furnish the National Assembly with details of the revenue shortfalls in the 2016 budget.

Funding and execution of the N6.06trn budget have been negatively affected by a sharp drop in crude oil prices and destruction of oil installations by militants in the Niger Delta.