Government & Politics

Reps Suspend Jibrin

Abdulmumin Jibrin

*Bar Him From Position Of Responsibility Till End Of 8th Assembly

*I Will Never Apologise To Anybody—Jibrin

*Asks Falana To File Contempt Of Court Charge Against House

The House of Representatives on Wednesday suspended Abdulmumin Jibrin, former chairman, House Appropriation Committee, for 180 legislative days.

The House cited breach of the practices, precedents and usages of the House of Representatives and sundry acts of misconduct against members and institution of the House and National Assembly.

It also cited breach of the provisions of the legislatives houses (powers and privileges) Act, Cap. L12, LFN as reason for suspending the lawmaker.

In the report laid by the chairman, Ethics and Privileges Committee, Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta), before the committee of the whole House, Jibrin is also “barred from holding any position of responsibility in the House until the end of the 8th Assembly”.

In the recommendations which were read and put to vote by the presiding chairman and Deputy Speaker, Lasun Yussuf, Jibrin is also “required to tender an apology to the House upon his future resumption of duties in the House”.

Giving synopsis of the report before the House, Ossai recalled that there was a motion raised under matters of urgent public importance by the chairman, Rules and Business, Oker Jev.

He said the committee received the referral through the clerk of the House and commenced its investigation, adding that the committee in line with its terms of reference invited Oker Jev for his testimony based on issues raised against Jibrin in his motion.

“It’s a known fact that Hon. Oker Jev attended the hearing and gave evidence on oath in the full glare of the media and civil society.

“We invited Hon. Jibrin to appear and he confirmed receipt of the letter and I also went out of my way to put a call across to him, asking if he actually received the invitation, which he confirmed, saying that he wanted an open hearing, and I told him we had already adopted that.

“But then, he didn’t attend. Even when he had expressed fears of lack of fair hearing; and I responded in the media that if he comes and proves to the contrary that I the chairman of the committee has conducted myself in a manner that shows bias, I would immediately step down from the hearing.

“So all the terms of reference were met on the side of the committee and we concluded our work based on the findings made”, Ossai said.

He disclosed that the committee views Jibrin’s statements as injurious, scandalous and sought to bring down the image of the House before the public.

“His action amounts to an infraction of section 24 of the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act”.

The motion to adopt the resolution was moved by House leader, Femi Gbajabiamila (APC, Lagos), which was unanimously adopted by the House.

It would be recalled that Jibrin upon his removal as chairman, House Appropriation Committee, on July 20 took on the House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, his Deputy, Yussuf Lasun; Whip, Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, accusing them alongside nine other committee chairmen for corruption and abuse of office through “diversion and illegal insertion” of projects in the 2016 budget document.

The Kano-born two-time lawmaker went ahead to demand the resignation of the accused in an all-out media war that lasted the entire duration of the House annual recess.

Among his allegations were that “Speaker Dogara and the four accused principal officers cornered N40 billion out of the N100 billion meant for the entire National Assembly for constituency projects in the 2016 appropriation.

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Jibrin also accused the quartet of diverting another N20 billion worth of projects to themselves, as well as attempts to force him to insert additional projects worth N30 billion, a demand to which he declined?, adding that his refusal forced Speaker Dogara and three others to hijack the committee secretariat from him. This was even as he accused nine committee chairmen of inserting 2,000 projects worth N284 billion.

He specifically accused Speaker Dogara of diverting four federal projects to his farm in Nasarawa State which, he said, includes two full components of water projects, a full component of rural electrification project and a feeder road.

Following his suspension, Jibrin has said that he will “not apologise to anybody”.

The lawmaker also in a letter written to the leadership of the House and his colleagues threatened to take legal actions if they don’t disclose how much they have received as ‘running costs’ since they came to the House and how they spent same in the next 72 hours.

Speaking to journalists at his home Wednesday evening, Jibrin said: “The most important thing is that Nigerians saw the entire process, how the motion was passed and what transpired at the level of the Ethics Committee and entirely the process was flawed and for me it’s a non-issue and complete nonsense and it is not going to stand anywhere in the world”.?

He said the issue of his suspension as decided by the House is sub judice as he had taken the matter to court with the House leadership duly served.

“As you are aware the matter is a subject of litigation, I have instructed my lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), to file charges of contempt against Speaker Dogara and of course the House of Representatives and I’m sure the matter will move over to the judiciary and decision will be taken. I’m pretty sure it will be in my favour”, he said.?

On the issue of apology, Jibrin said: “I will never ever apologise to anybody in the House of Representatives. I did not commit any offence; I did not abuse my office. I have said it repeatedly that in the five years that I have served in the House of Representatives I have never corruptibly enriched myself.

“In contrast, these are the allegations that I raised against Mr. Speaker and some members of the body of principal officers to which they have not responded to the allegations till date. So there is no reason to apologise to them. They know pretty well that I am not going to apologise to anybody in the House.

“But what is very important also is that now they have done their worst, they have suspended me, what has it changed? Has it changed the fact that the speaker conspired with other principal officers to divert N40 billion out of N100 billion meant for constituency projects?

“Has it changed the fact that he inserted fraudulent projects worth N20 billion? Has it changed the fact that he diverted multi-million naira project to his personal farm? Has it changed the fact that he tried to use the running cost – money meant for running the offices of members – for a questionable mortgage? Has it changed the fact that he diverted FGN project to his farm?

“Has it changed the fact that he and Alhassan Doguwa hijacked the 2015 MDG projects and everything there in and converted to their personal use? And many other criminal allegations that they committed, it hasn’t changed that”, he stressed.

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