HOUSE of Representatives yesterday suspended embattled former Appropriation Committee chairman, Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, following several allegations he raised against the speaker, Hon Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers. On resumption last week, the House mandated the of House Committee on Ethics and Privilege to probe Jibrin’s allegations following a motion by the chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Emmanuel Oker-Jev, that Jibrin’s allegations had breached the privileges of members and the institution of the House. The decision of the House followed the recommendation of the Ethics and Privilege Committee which submitted its report on the floor of the House. The report, which was unanimously adopted by the House, recommended as provided in Order six, Rule 1 (4) of the standing orders, and Chapter 9 (2) of the Code of Conduct for members of the House, hereby suspends Jibrin for 180 legislative sitting days. The committee also recommended that Jibrin should tender a formal written apology to the House after his suspension. It further recommended that Jibrin be barred from positions of responsibility in the House until the end of the eighth Assembly. However, in a letter to the speaker, principal officers and other members of the House titled ‘Details and Management of Running Cost and other Allowances of Principal Officers of the House,’ Jibrin gave them 72 hours to furnish Nigerians with what they received in monetary terms as running cost of their offices. He alleged that none of them had responded to the allegations he had raised, adding that he would follow up on the case until justice was served. “You will recall that I have embarked on an anti-corruption crusade to expose systemic and individual corruption in the House of Representatives and push for reforms that will wipe out corruption and ensure that the House conducts its affairs and management of its finances in a transparent and efficient way for the good of our country. “In the last few weeks I have raised several allegations of budget fraud, abuse of office, public trust and corruption against Speaker Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and few other members. “None of them responded to the allegations neither has any of them, with the exception of the House leader, honoured the invitation or submit and clear his name before the security and anti-graft agencies. I will follow up on this case until justice is served. He added in the letter that, “Similarly, and in the spirit of opening up the affairs of the House for the Nigerian people, I released figures of the amount each of you received as running cost. None of you responded despite the gravity of the issue. This is an issue that Nigerians in their millions are calling on us to open up. I will take it for granted that you have all denied the allegations. “It is in view of the above and enforcing that that I demand each of you to provide me and make public within 72 hours what you have received in monetary terms as running cost of your offices in your entire stay in the House of Representatives and details of how you spent it; failure of which I will take necessary legal action to compel you to do so.” Nigerian Pilot recalls that on Monday, Jibrin failed to appear before the Ethics and Privilege Committee to defend his allegations on grounds that there was no speaker pro tempore who should have constituted an ad-hoc committee to investigate the allegations he levelled against the speaker and other principal officers. Jibrin also gave condition that the proceedings would be public with access given to both print and electronic media, civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, Nigerian Labour Congress, Nigerian Bar Association, Academic Staff Union of Universities, National Association of Nigerian Students and the general public. In a letter addressed to the committee dated September 23, 2016, the former Appropriation Committee chairman said it had become necessary for the conditions to be met because from some public and private comments made, the chairman of the Ethics and Privilege Committee, Hon Ossai Nicholas Ossai probing the allegations had become an interested party in the matter and his ability to be impartial was in doubt. In its ruling, the Ossai-led committee said it would go ahead and submit its report on the floor of the House, stressing that Jibrin’s non-appearance was a defence on itself.
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