Spokesman for the House Of Representatives, Abdulrazak Namdaz, has insisted that the former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, went against the House rules.
He made this position known on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, while justifying Jibrin’s suspension from the House for 180 sitting days.
Addressing the issue, Honourable Namdaz described the decision of the House as fair, saying that the time frame of the decision was not limited.
He explained that the committee had enough time to decide the fate of Jibrin and so were not rushed to do their job, as the embattled lawmaker also did not show up to defend the allegations he made against the House of Reps.
According to him, Abdulmumin Jibrin “made petitions outside the House and it appeared as if he had more confidence in external institutions, which is why he did not approach the House when he felt aggrieved”.
“We have said it repeatedly that we have rules and if you have grievances, you have a right to express them”.
Mr Namdaz explained that Jibrin was given enough time to defend his case and despite being invited to present his case, he did not show up.
He said Jibrin wrote a letter to the chairman of the committee investigating the matter, stating conditions for his appearance, and that until the allegations were made public, he wasn’t appearing before the committee.
The spokesman stated that “the House is not concerned with specific allegations made by Jibrin, rather, it is concerned with the fact that Jibrin made those accusations to outside bodies rather than reporting his grievances to the internal bodies”.
In reaction to this, critics have accused the House of playing the roles of a judge by suspending Jibrin, while ignoring the basic issues which are centered on criminal activities.
The spokesman insisted: “Jibrin only submitted petitions to the EFCC and ICPC, so there has been no basis upon which the House can conduct any investigation against criminal cases.
“Now that he took the case outside, are we going to collect the petitions from the EFCC, to investigate our leaders?”
Reporting Caesar to Caesar
Providing a different perspective, legal practitioner, George Eke said that although the “National Assembly has its own rules as to how members conduct themselves”, the propriety of the case was an issue.
“Jibrin had exposed a number of awkward happenings in the National Assembly, however the concern for them is not on the content of his accusations, rather on the embarrassment this has caused to the image of the House.
“Is there no time when the National Assembly would worry about the allegations made by Jibrin, who said they had fraudulently padded the budget?
“In any case, we don’t expect Jibrin to report the individuals to the National Assembly, as that would be a case of reporting Ceaser to Ceaser,” he added.
Honourable Jibrin on the hand, claims that the decision to suspend him contravenes the law, since there was a case in a court on the issue.
The former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, however awaits hearing of the suit he filed against the Speaker of the House, Mr Yakubu Dogara by a court in Abuja on October 21.