Apparently in an effort to end the embrassing situation occasioned by the budget padding allegation, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, for the second time within a month met behind closed doors with President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in the Presidential Villa.
This is even as the principal officers in the House have joined forces against the embattled former chairman of House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin.
Nigerian Pilot Saturday gathered that the House leadership was perfecting plans for his suspension on resumption from recess next month.
President Buhari also reportedly met with the Senior Pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare.
Although details of the meeting were unknown as the visitors declined to state the reason behind the visit, it was however gathered that Dogara, who is on vacation, may have visited the Villa in connection with the rift in the National Assembly and how to improve on the relationship between the Executive and Legislative arms of government, following allegations of padding of the 2016 budget.
The lawmakers, led by Speaker Hon.Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Lasun Yusuf and Majority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, took the decision after a meeting in Abuja to stop his continued embarrassment of the House.
They also decided to take “full responsibility” for the dismissal of Jibrin from his former post as chairman of the Appropriation committee.
According to a statement by the leadership of the House, “The decision to relieve the erstwhile Appropriation Chairman of his position was a collective decision of the leadership in response to unrelenting pressures from the overwhelming majority of Honorable members who were irked by the former Chairman’s gross abuse of the budget process,” the lawmakers said.
The 10 lawmakers who signed the statement included, Hon. Dogara, his deputy, Lasun Yusuf, Hon. Gbajabiamila, Deputy Majority Leader, Buba Jibril, House Whip, Ado Doguwa and Deputy Chief Whip, Pally Iriase.
Others included: Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde, Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuma Onyem and Fatima Maigari.
Jibrin was relieved of his chairmanship on July 20. The House accused him of breach of trust.
Jibrin pushed back against the allegation, saying his effort to assert his authority against alleged fraudulent attempt by the speaker and others to manipulate the budget, earned him sanction.
He also refused to let the matter die in the House, taking the fight to the public by releasing internal House documents that he said illustrated how the budget was severely padded by Mr. Dogara and other lawmakers.
He also visited law enforcement agencies, including the EFCC, SSS and the police, where he said he personally submitted petitions that contained evidence of fraudulent manipulation of the budget by Mr. Dogara and 12 others.
The House, however, denied all the allegations.
In their statement, the principal officers, numbering 10, said Mr. Jibrin’s “allegations are wild, baseless and unfounded”.
The lawmakers said the House joined forces with the Senate to take over scrutiny of the 2016 budget from Mr. Jibrin when they discovered that he had bungled the process.
“The Leadership of the House of Representatives wishes to reaffirm that it took collective action, in conjunction with the Senate and a team from the Executive, to rescue the 2016 Budget when it became obvious that the former appropriation Chairman had placed both the document and the process in jeopardy resulting in a spate of agitations from Ministries, Departments and Agencies,” the lawmakers said.
The principal officers said they would take careful measures in dealing with the attacks from Mr. Jibrin “upon the resumption of the House” in September.
Meanwhile, the former chairman, House of Representative Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumini Jibrin, has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to restrain the leadership of the House of Representatives from suspending him.
Mr. Jibrin, representing Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State, urged the court, to set aside the decision of the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and Uzoma Abonta, pending the determination of the case.
He also asked the court to declare as illegal, the decision of the House to suspend him without allowing the external investigation committee to probe his allegations of budget padding.
When the case came up for hearing Thursday, Justice Okon Abang sought to know if the defendants in the case were served with the court processes.
Counsel to Mr. Jibrin, Mohammed Suleiman, told the court that the plaintiff was yet to serve the defendants with the motion.
Mr. Abang therefore directed that all parties in the suit be put on notice before he could entertain the application.
He adjourned the hearing till Aug. 25.
Mr. Jibrin is accusing the leadership of the House of fraudulently padding the 2016 budget with projects worth N40 billion.


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