The war between the former Chairman, House Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Yakubu Dogara became tougher on Wednesday after Dogara gave Jibrin a seven day ultimatum to “tender an unreserved apology” to him and “retract all allegations” made against him or face legal action.
The demand was contained in a letter written and addressed to Jibrin by counsel to Dogara, Professor Joash Ojo Amupitan (SAN) & Co. It was signed ByProfessor Joash Amupitan, SAN, who is the Principal Partner of the firm.
This is coming after some members of the House under the aegis of “Transparency Group” on Wednesday called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate Dogara and Jibrin following the corruption allegations.
The letter titled, “Request For A Retraction And An Apology Of A Libelous Press Statement Issued By You On Monday 25th July, 2016”, noted that the claims of the former Appropriations chairman that the speaker is corrupt and abuses his office is aimed at tarnishing his image at home and abroad, and is a clear case of libel.
The letter read in part:
The attention of our client has been drawn to a libelous press statement you issued on Monday 25th July 2016 which was made available to members of the press (print and electronic media) titled: ‘The Corrupt Speaker Yakubu Dogara And His 3-Man Cabal’.
The personal references (in Jibrin’s publication) are obviously directed at our client, and amount to a very serious libel.
By the said publication and without putting to the public any shred of evidence, our client is portrayed as a criminal, corrupt, dishonest, fraudulent, dishonourable and unfit to hold the position of Speaker of House of Representatives.
Our client’s reputation has further been brought down in the estimation of right thinking members of the society and he has been thrown into public opprobrium, odium, scorn and ridicule.
Consequently, we consider your publication on the matter as not only libelous but made in bad faith; an act of vendetta owing to your recent removal as the Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation.
The said publication is also aimed at causing disaffection between Nigerians and members of the House of Representatives.
Sequel to the above, we have to request you to submit immediately to us a clear and unqualified apology and retraction of the publication in an equally conspicuous position in all the print and electronic media where the publication appeared.
TAKE NOTICE that in the event of your failure/refusal to comply with the above mentioned demands within seven (7) days of your receipt of this letter, we have further instructions to institute a suit against you in a court of law.
If we have to pursue this course, we shall be claiming aggravated and exemplary damages.
Reacting to the threat, Jibrin took to Twitter to say that he will not withdraw his allegations, adding that his lawyers have officially approached the EFCC and theIndependent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and he will submit his petition against Dogara and the 3 other principal officers.
“Speaker Dogara has threatened legal action on me. Quite predictable. I know he will rush to court in order to invoke the house rules that matter in court can not be heard on the floor.
He failed to realise that the law is not intended to protect corrupt people. It is such a shame. I have responded to their allegations rather than respond to mine,he is rushing to court. I stand by my allegations &will not withdraw them!
I am happy to announce that my lawyers have officially approached the EFCC and the ICPC towards working out a date for me to personally submit my petition against Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, Whip Alhassan Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor.
I believe once a date is agreed with the anti-corruption agencies we would have begun the process of making these characters pay for abusing their office.
I will not, and will never apologize to a shameless fraud in high office who has glaringly abused public trust like speaker Dogara & the 3 others,” Jibrin tweeted.
Jibrin had accused Dogara and three other principal officers of the House of budget fraud to the tune of N40 billion. He also alleged that N248 billion was introduced into the budget by 10 out of the 96 committee chairmen in the House without the knowledge of their members.
The House, in a statement by its spokesman, Hon. Abdulrazak Namdas had also accused Jibrin of budget fraud, saying that he added about N250 billion to the 2016 budget.
Photo Credit: NAN PHOTO