The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday said he would not engage his former ally and House member from Kano State, Abdulmumin Jibrin, in political mudslinging.
Mr. Dogara was responding to a deluge of requests from Nigerians online who asked him to respond to allegations of high-level corruption leveled by Mr. Jibrin against him and other principal officers.
Mr. Jibrin was sacked as chairman of House Committee on Appropriation on Wednesday.
In a lengthy statement Thursday, he accused the speaker of attempting to insert questionable projects worth N40 billion into the 2016 budget.
“I won’t respond to jokes. I’m not a mud wrestler,” Mr. Dogara said in response to a tweet from a Twitter user, Comrade Abdallah, late Thursday. He said he would no longer comment on the matter in public.
“I owe a word on the subject to my friends on this platform. The rest would be dealt with by the Institution.”
Mr. Jibrin had on Thursday delivered a blistering attack on Mr. Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa, and Minority Whip Leo Ogor, accusing them of treachery, incompetence and corruption.
Mr. Jibrin called on the four to resign their positions immediately, saying he “can no longer bear the brunt of abuses and baseless allegations keeping quiet all in the name of ‘confidentiality’” expected of him.
Mr. Jibrin’s turbulent outburst came a day after he was dismissed by Mr. Dogara, who said the lawmaker representing Kano’s Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency had committed serial betrayal of trust reposed in him by his colleagues.
Mr. Dogara also said Mr. Jibrin was removed because he abused his position as the chair of Appropriation Committee and smuggled line items into the 2016 Appropriation Bill.
In a statement read on the floor of the House Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Dogara said Mr. Jibrin had earlier approached him to intimate him about his decision to step down from the chairmanship position.
“He met me and said he does not think he would continue as the committee chairman due to pressure of the work,” Mr. Dogara said.
But the notification came too late as the House leadership had already concluded plans to remove him from the position, Mr. Dogara said.
But in a lengthy tirade on Thursday, Mr. Jibrin tore into Mr. Dogara, Mr. Lasun and Mr. Ogor, saying their action was “a complete misrepresentation of the facts, false, mischievous, unfair and a calculated attempt to bring my name to disrepute, blackmail, silence and use me as a scapegoat”.
Mr. Jibrin said Messrs. Dogara, Lasun and Ogor began plotting against him when he thwarted their attempt to “allocate to themselves 40 billion naira out of the 100 billion allocated to the entire National Assembly.”
Other allegations raised by Mr. Jibrin included how the House leadership had been victimising him because of his staunch opposition to any immunity clause for lawmakers.
Mr. Jibrin also said Mr. Dogara had been plotting against President Buhari, warning the president to distance himself from the Speaker, saying he “wines with Mr. President and dines with Mr. President’s enemies”
In a swift response, the House leadership denied all the “wild allegations” from Mr. Jibrin in their entirety.
Abdulrazak Namdas, spokesman of the House, said Thursday that Mr. Jibrin manufactured the allegations as a way of protesting and getting back against those responsible for his dismissal, which was carried out in line with rules and conventions of the parliament.