The House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges has commenced investigation into the alleged breach of privileges of the House by former Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Representative Abdulmumin Jibrin.
The investigation followed a resolution by the House to probe the allegations of padding of the 2016 budget by some of its members.
Making his opening remarks, the chairman of the committee, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, said that the hearing is open to the press.
He then read out some of the allegations against Rep Abdulmumin Jibrin from the motion raised by the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Rep Emmanuel Orker-Jev, who appeared before the investigating committee.
Buttressing the allegations one after the other, Rep Orker-Jev, who sponsored the motion, presented evidence of the reported statements where Rep Abdulmunin Jibrin had accused the House of corruption.
He explained that the allegations made had impinged on the image of the National Assembly.
He went on to explain that he took the initiative to move the motion when other colleagues approached him regarding the same matter.
The committee also questioned the lawmaker before adjourning its sitting to Monday, September 26 when Mr Jibrin is expected to appear before it.
The committee has promised to be fair and objective in its investigation and is expected to submit its findings to the House in one week.
Condition For Appearance
Abdulmumin Jibrin had given a condition that must be met for him to appear before the Ethics Committee to defend allegations of budget padding he made against principal officers of the House.
After the House referred him to the committee for investigation on Wednesday, following deliberations on a motion on the issue, the lawmaker in a statement said he would only obey the decision of the House “if the hearing will be public”.
Members of the House of Representatives unanimously agreed to refer Honourable Jibrin to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges over what was described as a “campaign of calumny and denigration”.
In his the statement Honourable Jibrin said: “I attended the sitting of the House today and carefully observed the proceedings concerning the allegations of budget fraud and corruption I levelled against Speaker Dogara and three other Principal Officers.
“But rather than open up the matter for discussion in view of the public interest it has generated and allow me to brief my colleagues, an opportunity I have been denied for several months, Mr Speaker deployed some legislative tricks and theatrics to save the day.”
Jibrin claimed that the move was an abuse of process and explained that “Speaker Dogara granted under point of order, an opportunity to the Chairman of Business and Rules Committee who started with a speech then suddenly transited to a motion under privilege – a clear case of manipulation and gross abuse of the House rule”.
“This is the easiest resort since the attempts to secure a vote of confidence had woefully failed,” he said.
The lawmaker further stated that the struggle over the alleged budget padding would continue.