The ongoing budget scandal and face-off between the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin has taken a different turn as the speaker on Wednesday gave a seven-day notice to Hon. Jibrin to retract his statements.
Hon. Jibrin had earlier accused the speaker of asking for the budget to be inflated for dubious reasons, an accusation denied by Dogara.
Mr. Dogara said Mr. Jibrin’s publication of a series of “libellous” materials in the media was done in “bad faith” and had caused “disaffection” between Nigerians and the House.
In the letter, which was written and dispatched on behalf of Mr. Dogara by his lawyers, Messrs. Professor Joash Amupitan and Co., the Speaker said Mr. Jibrin’s failure to comply with his request would have grave legal consequences.
“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.”
Mr. Dogara’s attorney said the Speaker had been subjected to “public opprobrium, odium, scorn and ridicule” following Mr. Jibrin’s allegations, which were widely circulated in the media.
Joash Amupitan, a principal partner in the firm, said:
“Consequently, we consider your publication on the matter as not only libellous but made in bad faith; an act of vendetta owing to your recent removal as the Chairman of House Committee on Appropriation.”
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Mr. Jibrin had been circulating allegations of budget padding, incompetence and breach of trust against Mr. Dogara since he was removed as chair of the appropriation committee a week ago.
The speaker earlier casually dismissed the allegations as that of a man bitter from being removed from a top job, however with the scandal spiraling out of control, he has opted to take legal action.