The All Progressives Congress (APC) has warned two of its waring members who have been enmeshed in a battle on media over the budget padding allegations to henceforth cease fire as their actions is causing the party serious embarrasement.
The embattled Speaker Yakubu Dogara and a former chairman committee on appropriation have also been barred by their party from speaking further to the press on crisis in the House over illegal pork barrel projects.
Leaders.NG learnt that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) gave the gag order in a letter sent to them dated yesterday.
The House has been set against itself since the scandal broke and it continues to dominate newspaper headlines and the social media.
It all began when on July 20 the Speaker sacked Abdulmumin Jibrin as chairman appropriation committee over allegation that he illegally inserted projects worth N4 billion for his constituency.
Few days later Jibrin responded by embarking on a damning media campaign against the Speaker, his deputy Yussuf Suleimon Lasun and two others, alleging that they have done far worse than what they said he did.
He said the Speaker, his deputy together with chief whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa and the minority leader, Leo Ogor, have illegally pork-barrelled projects worth over N40 billion into national budget.
Jibrin released documents to the social media, some with hand written notes on the margin, which he suggested were made by the Speaker and the others to prove his allegations.
At the last count Jibrin had made about 23 allegations against the quartet and personally delivered petitions he wrote against them to anti graft agency, the EFCC, the internal
intelligence agency, the DSS and Force Headquarters.
It was at this point that the party said it had had enough and summoned both sides for a separate meeting on Tuesday to broker a truce.
Sources told Leaders.NG that it was as a result of that meeting that the party sent separate letters to both Dogara and Jibrin, directing them to stop further public statement on the matter.
The letter, seen by Learders.NG, which was signed by the party’s deputy national chairman, North, Lawal Shuaibu, said:
“As you are aware, the party and indeed the Government have not been happy over recent developments in the House of Representatives over the issue of the 2016 Budget. We found it embarrassing to have to deal with another new phenomenon you tagged ‘Budget Padding.
“However, I write to thank you for your cooperation in honouring our intervention and your readiness to afford the party the chance to handle the House of Representatives ‘budget padding’ crisis.
“Arising from the series of meetings we held with you over the subject matter, the National Working Committee had decided to request you to henceforth avoid issuing any public statement on this matter.
“This, however, includes statements through social media or other means of transmitting an opinion on the matter to the public, as the party is now looking into it towards finding possible solution.”
Leaders.NG gathered that during the party’s meeting with Jibrin on Tuesday, the officials expressed their displeasure over the happenings and told him the implication of his action to the party, saying it could go beyond the National Assembly.
It was further learnt that the session got so heated that Jibrin broke into tears.
However, Jibrin told Leaders.NG on Wednesday night, before the party’s letter of yesterday, that the APC leaders only demanded the details of what happened. He spoke only briefly on the matter.
“They called me to hear the full details of what is happening. But they didn’t in any way try to force me to drop the criminal allegations that I made against the 13 members of the House.”
Asked about the displeasure expressed by the party about his action and its consequences on the party and some of its officials, Jibrin simply said “I don’t know about that.”
When Leaders.NG further asked Jibrin if it was true that he cried during the interaction, he burst into laughter and then said “I’ve already responded, and I think what I said is enough,” he said.