Budget Padding: Jibrin Files Fresh Suit Against Dogara
The embattled former chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation, Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin, is asking a Federal High Court in Abuja to award the sum of one billion Naira against Speaker Dogara, the House of Representatives and the Clerk of the House.
This is expected to serve as punitive and general damages for his suspension, his counsel said.
In an application for discontinuance of the suit filed against Dogara and 13 others, Mr Jibrin’s counsel said fresh originating summons had been filed before the court.
Mr Jibrin in the new suit is asking the court to declare that his suspension was a violation of his fundamental human right to freedom of expression.
It was a day earlier scheduled by the court to hear the suit the lawmaker had filed, but that did not happen, as the counsel had come with an application for the court to discontinue the suit while a fresh suit was filed.
Mr Jibrin had filed a suit against Mr Dogara after the House passed a resolution, barring him from being part of 180 sitting days.
He claims that the decision to suspend him contravenes the law, since there was a case in a court on the issue.
The suspension was issued after the lawmaker failed to appear before the House Ethics Committee to defend allegations he made against Dogara and some other principle officers of the House.
Representative Jibrin had accused them of padding the 2016 budget, a claim for which he had submitted some documents he claimed were evidences to four Federal Government’s agencies against the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and 11 others.
Mr Jibrin was suspended for allegedly breaching the practices and precedents of the House of Representatives.
According to the House presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Representative Yusuf Lasun, 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.
After the suspension was issued, Mr Jibrin described the decision as ‘completely inconsequential’.
“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. That suit has now been withdrawn.
“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 Cause, 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.
A day after the suspension was issued, the House of Representatives began the implementation of the resolution, changing the locks of the lawmaker’s office and sealing it off.
Jibrin’s office within the legislative chambers was on Thursday sealed and the locks changed by officials of the House.
Other officials took an inventory of items found in the office.
No Court Papers
Defending the decision of the House, the spokesman for the House, Abdulrazak Namdas, said the lower legislative chamber had not been served with court papers since its resolution to suspend Jibrin.
He said that the House could not be stopped from performing its constitutional duties.
“On this issue of court, I want it to be clear that there is clear separation of powers in this country. We have the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.
“No arm of government is to gag another, and I can assure you, if decisions are taken here and someone is aggrieved, he can run to where actions can be taken.
“But for us, we have done what is within the rules. The constitution empowers us to have our rules, to implement it and this has been implemented.
“If he goes to court tomorrow, we will brief you accordingly, but for now, nothing has happened,” Namdas said.