The former chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation, Representative Abdulmumin Jibrin, has described his suspension for 180 sitting days by the House as ‘completely inconsequential’.
The lawmaker was suspended on Wednesday for allegedly breaching the practices and precedents of the House of Representatives.
According to the House, Representative Jibrin is also required to tender a formal written apology to the House, before his future resumption of duties.
He is also barred from positions of authority in the House till the end of the 8th assembly.
The House of Representatives has three sitting days in a week and going by that the lawmaker will be away for 60 weeks.
Reacting to the suspension, the lawmaker said the process that led to the decision of the House was a complete waste of time.
“Whatever product comes out of that process, as far as I am concerned, is completely inconsequential and cannot stand anywhere.
“The matter is in court and it is a matter of litigation,” he told Channels Television.
Mr Jibrin said he had asked his lawyer to file a suit against the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, for contempt.
“While I wait for the formal correspondent from the House, I have in anticipation instructed my lawyer, Femi Falana, to charge Speaker Dogara for contempt, because he is aware that the matter is in court and he went ahead to table the matter before the House and referred it to the ethics committee.
“Of course, predictably, this is what they wanted and as far as I am concerned, it is not an issue,” he stressed.
The House had asked him to apologise, but the lawmaker said he would not apologise.
“I can tell you very clearly. I will never, ever, apologise to anybody in the House of Representatives.
“I did not commit any offense, I didn’t do anything wrong. I have said it repeatedly that in the five years that I have spent in the House of Representatives, I have never abused my office. I have never corruptly enriched myself, so I have no reason to apologise to anybody,” the lawmaker from Kano State said.
Allegation Of Budget Padding
Representative Jibrin had accused some principal officers of the House, including the Speaker, Representative Yakubu Dogara, of padding the 2016 budget.
After he made the claim, the lawmaker submitted some documents he claimed were evidences to four Federal Government’s agencies against the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and 11 others.
The petition was submitted at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Department of Security Services and the Police headquarters all in Abuja.
Addressing reporters after he submitted his petition at the ICPC, Representative Jibrin said that if the accused could be prosecuted, found guilty and sent to jail, it would send out a powerful signal of President Muhammadu Buhari’s war against corruption.
The allegation took a different turn, with his political party, the ruling All Progressives Congress inviting him for talks with the party’s leadership.
Mr Jibrin, who honoured the invitation, however, noted that the invitation “did not in any way indicate it is a disciplinary committee”.
The Party had stated that it had made several attempt to reach Mr Jibrin through calls and text messages, but he maintained that “it would have been very difficult for me to attend because of an attempt by the quartet of Speaker Dogara and others, who were determined to kidnap me until few days when my lawyers requested and got maximum protection for me from the DSS and police”.
After that meeting, Representatives Jibrin also met with the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption over the budget padding saga.
The purpose of the meeting was to brief members of the committee on the details of the allegations he made against the principal officers.
The meeting was held behind closed-doors in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital and lasted for about four hours.
Briefing reporters after the meeting, Mr Jibrin said his allegations were not about settling scores with the Speaker of the House, Honourable Yakubu Dogara.
The issues lingered on from June till lawmakers proceeded on a six-week recess.
Upon return from the recess, the issue was raised on the second day of plenary and a member of the House told the plenary that “Honourable Jibrin embarked on a campaign of calumny and denigration by making false and scandalous statements and publication in print and electronic media against all members of the House of Representatives collectively”.
The motion on the issue motion on the issue frayed nerves and made the plenary rowdy.
After deliberations, Representative Jibrin was referred to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges to defend allegation of budget padding he made against Principal officers of the House.
But the lawmaker gave conditions that must be met for him to appear before the committee.
He said he would only obey the decision of the House “if the hearing will be public,” insisting that the deliberation of the issue at the House plenary was flawed.
“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”.
The committee’s sitting was held as scheduled but Mr Jibrin did not attend.
On that day, he asked the Senate to pass a resolution which will empower it to discharge the functions of the National Assembly until the House of Representatives transparently addresses the allegations of budget padding levelled against the leadership and some members of the House.
The lawmaker said that the House had lost the moral ground to discharge its legislative functions as it has failed to address the allegations decisively.
He also made it clear that he would not appear before the House Ethics Committee which is investigating him for breaching the privileges of the House.
After his refusal to appear before the committee, the House decided to suspend him for 60 weeks.