Jibrin seeks court order to stop suspension by House
From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
The House of Representatives said that it will follow due process in addressing the allegations raised against its leadership by former chairman of the Committee of Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin over the 2016 budget.
In a statement issued by Body of Principal officers of the House yesterday, and signed by ten of the principal officer, the lawmakers stated that everything the House did regarding the 2016 budget, including the sack of Jibrin were done in the interest of the nation, for which the House leadership takes responsibility.
The statement was signed by the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker, Yusuff Lasun, Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamilia, Majority whip, Hassan Dogowa and Minority leader, Leo Ogor. Others are Pally Iriase, Umar Buba Jibrin, Yakubu Umar Barde, Chukwuka Onyema and Binta Bello.
The House said while it did not intend to join the former Appropriation Committee chairman in a press war, all the issues raised in his allegations could be verified and the public would be availed the opportunity when the House resumes from its recess.
The statement read: “In recent weeks, the nation’s public space has been inundated with a treatise of discuss centred around the concept “Budget Padding” newly introduced into the lexicon of the Nigerian legislative appropriation process.
“The proponent, the recently sacked Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin sought to make allegations of impropriety against the leadership of the House over the process and content of the 2016 budget passed by the National Assembly and signed into law.
“While the leadership is determined to ensure that absolute diligence, maturity and due process are employed in dealing with the allegations, instead of joining the accuser in a press war, it is important to state, in the interest of the agitated public, that the allegations are wild, baseless and unfounded. Good enough, all the said allegations raise issues that can be easily verified and the public will be availed ample opportunity upon the resumption of the House.
“In the meantime, however, 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.
“Furthermore, 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 members who were irked by the former chairman’s gross abuse of the budget process. Both actions were taken in the best interest of the institution and the nation for which we take full responsibility.”
Meanwhile, Jibrin, has asked the Federal High Court, Abuja, to restrain the leadership of the House of Representatives from suspending him.
He also prayed the court, to set aside the decision of Dogara and Uzoma Abonta, pending the determination of the case and 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 on Thursday, Justice Okon Abang sought to know if the defendants in the case were served with the court processes.