• Lawmaker avoids phone calls from committee
From Kemi Yesufu, Abuja
Former chairman of the House of Representatives C ommittee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, again, shunned the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges investigating allegations of misconduct and breach of the collective privilege of the House levelled against him.
On Wednesday, September 21, he House referred Jibrin to the Ethics committee following the adoption of a motion entitled: “Breach of Privileges of Federal Republic of Nigeria (the House), Breach of Privileges of Members of House Representatives, Breach of Practices, Precedents and Usages of the House of Representatives and Sundry Acts of Misconducts against the Members and Institution of the House of Representatives and the National Assembly are contrary to sections 22 and 30 of Legislative (Powers and Privileges Act), sponsored by Emmanuel Oker-Jev.
Three days ago, Jibrin expressed lack of faith in the committee.
At a press briefing, the lawmaker alleged chairman of the committee, Ossai Nicholas Ossai and some other members were biased against him.
But, Ossai, in a swift response assured Jibrin of the committee’s fairness. This was even as Ossai offered to step aside and allow his deputy presie, if it would make Jibrin appear before the committee.
Despite Jibrin’s no-show, the committee went ahead with yesterday’s hearing and Ossai explained how much was done to meet Jibrin’s conditions for him to attend the hearing.
“He (Jibrin) said, ‘I will appear under the condition that the proceeding will be public, with access given to both print and electronic media, civil society organization, non governmental organisation, the Nigerian Labour Congress, Nigeria Bar Association, Academic Staff Union of University, National Association of Nigerian Students and the general public.’
“You can see from the first day that this committee has been public. As of last week, we made the committee open to all media houses, rights organisation and others.”
Ossai said Jibrin was duly served notice for yesterday’s hearing on September 22 and the notice was duly acknowledged.
“We take it that it was duly served,” he added.
Following Ossai’s explanation, the committee adjourned for 30 minutes to see if Jibrin would eventually change his mind and appear before it.
After the session resumed, Ossai announced that Jibrin had been given sufficient time to appear in order to state his case.
This was after he confirmed from the committee Clerk, Yankuzo Bawale if he called Jibrin to inform him that the committee was waiting for him to make his presentation.
Bawale responded in the affirmative.
He told the committee that he called Jibrin’s mobile line but he did not pick even as he sent a text but received no response.
Bawale also said he went to Jibrin’s office which was locked.
But, there was drama yesterday when the committee questioned the management of the Channels Television over an interview of Jibrin aired during one of its programmes.
“We invited Channels Television and African Independent Television (AIT) management because of the exhibits tendered. Channels is not on trial.
During last week’s session, an honourable member submitted this Compact Disk (CD) and we need to know if Jibrin was on a prograamme in your station,” Ossai said.
Senior Manager, Yemi Ipaye and Lanre Lasisi, senior reporter from Channels Television respectively, were put on oath to confirm if Jibrin granted the station the interview aired on the said date as claimed by Orker -Jev.
Ipaiye, who was at various times interrogated by members of the commitee especially Rasak Atunwa, agreed after watching the CD tendered by Oker-Jev that Channels has a programme, Sunday Politics and that the programme is anchored by a Mr. Seun Okinbaloye.
She, however, insisted that her company needed more time.
“We need to brief our legal team and get clearance from our headquarters on this issue,” she said.
AIT management of was absent at the hearing.
Fifteen members of the committee were present at the hearing, including Herman Hembe who excused himself but attended as an observer, nevertheless.