30 July 2016
An attempt by the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation to hoodwink newsmen that a newspaper report stating that the committee’s office at the National Assembly had been shut was false, boomeranged in Abuja on Saturday.
Upon their insistence to verify the veracity of the denial, Clerk of the Committee, Dr. Abel Ochigbo, led newsmen to the National Assembly to see things by themselves, but security personnel on duty denied him access.
The visit was a fallout to a news conference where the Chairman of the committee, Rep. Mustapha Dawaki (APC-Kano), denied the shutting, seizure, relocation of the committee’s office, records and documents, including the harassment of staff.
Dawaki said that the attention of the committee had been drawn to a newspaper report of July 29, alleging the shutting, seizure and relocation of the committee’s office and records.
He said the publication was false and should be disregarded because no member of staff of the committee was being harassed as reported.
The Chairman had earlier read to journalists a letter dated July 29, 2016 and written by Dr. Ochigbo to the committee for its information and necessary action.
It read: “I write to confirm that the Committee’s Secretariat is intact and has not been threatened in anyway.
“All records are also intact and safe both hardware and software. In addition, our archival setup is properly kept and in order.
“Furthermore, no member of staff in the Secretariat of the committee has been subjected to any form of threat, intimidation or harassment from any quarter whatever.’’
Having listened to the content of the letter, the journalists in attendance at the press conference demanded to visit the office to confirm the veracity of Dawaki’s story, but the Clerk was shut out by the security personnel.
The Committee has been at the centre of brickbats between its former Chairman, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin and the Speaker, House of Assembly, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, over alleged padding of the 2016 national budget, with both parties opening tins of canker-worms and threatening law suits.