Hon Jibrin regards the purchase of exotic cars by his colleagues in the House of Reps as insensitive and corrupt
There's been a raging debate in Nigeria about whether lawmakers should be procuring exotic cars worth N3.6B during a recession.
The public have slammed their representatives in parliament for displaying "penchant for greed" with the purchase of the cars.
Jonathan Gaza who is the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs and Abdulrazak Namdas who is the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, said the cars were necessary in order for members of the House to carry out their oversight functions.
According to Namdas: "This issue of cars is long overdue. They are not for luxury but for committee and oversight duties. The 8th Assembly is nearing two years, yet members have no cars to carry out their duties.
“Ministers and other officials in the Executive have long bought vehicles for official duties.
“At the state level, members of House of Assembly have cars to carry out basic functions. I think it is only fair that members of the National Assembly will have utility vehicles for their assignments.”
Gaza belted out a similar tune.
“In a recession, we will all put on our thinking caps. We are working; these are committees’ cars and they are not the personal property of members.
“When you came here today, how did you come? Did you walk down to this place (National Assembly) from your house?", Gaza asked a Punch reporter rhetorically.
“If a member is going to visit an agency, will he trek there?
“We need materials, computers, stationery, cars; these are all for work.”
But Jibrin who was suspended from the National Assembly for 180 legislative days, said his colleagues aren't telling Nigerians the truth.
"I have followed with keen interest the strong condemnation by Nigerians of the purchase of cars for members of the House of Reps by Speaker Yakubu Dogara at such a difficult period of economic recession and the reckless and insensitive justification of such a monumental waste by the Speaker", said Jibrin.
The lawmaker continued: "In line with my commitment to continue to expose individual and systemic corruption in the House, I wish to state the following facts:
"That it is an outright lie that the cars are needed for oversight as over 80% of oversight activities of the House are carried out in Abuja.
"And in almost all instances, it is the MDAs (Ministries, Departments and Agencies) that arrange buses to convey members from the premises of the House to the respective MDA.
"When such areas are far away from Abuja, members always use flights to the nearest location while the MDAs arrange vehicles and other logistics to complete the visit. In almost all instances, the MDAs provide accommodation and pay for the tickets and other logistics.
"That even if we assume that the cars are needed, it is fraudulent to further put additional N4B into such wasteful venture at the same time members are pocketing about N10M monthly. An amount many members use to sponsor their lavish lifestyles.
"That despite the monthly allowances and the purchases of these new cars, a special car allowance is yet again being arranged for members.
"The last I know before my illegal suspension was that the issue of another car allowance remains an outstanding entitlement of members".
Jibrin said he wouldn't be part of the 'car booty'.
Each unit of the cars will cost the Nigerian taxpayer N10M.
"Nigerians should be vigilant as Speaker Dogara tried to be smart by awarding the supply of the cars to Peugeot Automobile so that he can hide under the guise that the House is supporting local manufacturers to deflect criticism.
"It adds no value to the economy since in the first place the money ought not to be used for that purpose. That I have stated repeatedly and wish to reemphasise that these so called oversight functions are being used as avenues under Speaker Dogara to solicit for bribes from MDAs. It is a normal thing to see members fighting over alleged bribe money after an oversight visit.
"That the hurried purchase of the cars is part of the carrot and stick approach deployed by Speaker Dogara to silence members and ensure that the allegations of massive budget fraud and corruption against him never see the light of the day.
"That this colossal amount of money would have done so much if deployed to our hospitals, schools, IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps, water supply and food production.
"That it is a complete waste of government resources to embark on such a selfish purchase of cars.
"I have therefore decided to reject the car and equally call on all members to reject the cars as a first step towards redeeming our battered image before Nigerians".
Jibrin said he has communicated this "decision to my constituents who remain very happy with my decision to reject the car".
House members have called Jibrin a "desperate man" for his latest anti-corruption posture.
“Is it now that he (Jibrin) is no longer benefiting from allowances that he wants them scrapped?” asked Namdas.
Speaker Dogara and the House of Reps have however gone ahead with the purchase of the cars.
The cars will be delivered in batches.
Last year, the Senate acquired its own exotic cars at a cumulative cost of N4.7B.