The budget padding controversy in the House of Representatives seems to be far from ending soon, as the absence of the judge presiding over a case against the House stalled the sitting of the court.
Judge Idris Koko of the Federal High Court in Kano State had fixed ruling on the suit filed by residents of the Kiru/Bebeji federal constituency for Tuesday, December 20, but he did not show up.
The residents are challenging the authenticity of Speaker Yakubu Dogara the leadership of the House to suspend their representative, Abdulmumin Jibrin, from the National Assembly.
Representative Jibrin was suspended after he publicly accused Speaker Dogara and some other principal officers of the House of manipulating figures in the 2016 budget, an issue that led to his suspension from the House.
He described his suspension for 180 sitting days by the House as ‘completely inconsequential’, noting that the process that led to the decision of the House was a complete waste of time.
The lead counsel for Kofa constituency, Bashir Muqaddam, told reporters at the court premises on Tuesday that Justice Koko had gone for the Judges’ Conference holding in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He noted that after returning from the conference, the judges would proceed for the Christmas and New Year vacations, adding that they are expected to resume on January 19, 2017.
Whistle Blowing Role
While the case had been fixed for January 18, 2017 for mentioning, the lawyer stated some of their requests in the suit.
“Our prayer seeks that the sum of two billion Naira be given to our client, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin Kofa, as payment for damages to his reputation.
“When we resume on January 18, 2017, the case will come up for mentioning.
“We want to know whether his whistle blowing role in exposing how the 2016 budget was padded was in contradiction of any stipulated law of the land,” he stated.
Mr Muqaddam said the people of the constituency wanted “an immediate reinstatement of the suspended member and the court to also order for the payment of all his entitlements for the suspension period”.