Reps in rowdy session over move to suspend Jibrin
• Okay motion for lawmaker’s probe
• ‘Why I wont appear before panel’
For over an hour yesterday, proceedings of the House of Representatives were stalled due to an attempt by some members to block a move to suspend Dr. Abdulmumini Jibrin.
Jibrin who is a former chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, had accused the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and three other principal officers of wrongdoing, including padding of the 2016 budget to the tune of N20 billion.
The House became rancorous after the chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Orkev-Jev raised a matter of privilege, alleging that Jibrin, by his alleged unsubstantiated utterances over the budget padding saga, had breached not only his privileges but those of the entire House.
Amidst shouts of “No! No! No!” by some members of the Transparency Group, including Mohammed Soba and Ali Madaki who were sympathetic to Jibrin’s cause, Orkev-Jev prayed that the issue be referred to the Ethics and Privileges Committee for appropriate consideration.
This pitted members of the Transparency Group against the supporters of Dogara who countered more forcefully with their defeaning chant of “Dogara! Dogara! Dogara!” Orkev-Jev ‘s proposition was taken in the midst of the pandemonium.
The ensuing confrontation between the two groups of lawmakers stalled proceedings initially for about 40 minutes as both sides later related with each other in a peaceful manner.
Efforts by Madaki (Dala: APC: Kano) to nullify Orkev-Jev’s motion on the basis that it was not seconded by any member of the House failed.
Madaki reminded his colleagues of the damning allegations raised by Jibrin which, he said, could threaten his own integrity and that of the entire members of the lower legislative chamber. He urged Dogara to resign to pave the way for the budget padding saga to be investigated.
But Dogara, who reminded Madaki that due process was followed before the motion was moved by Orkev-Jev, said that he could only heed Jibrin’s call on him to resign after Madaki must have resigned.
This engendered another round of trouble as several pro-Dogara lawmakers made fun of the issue, offering Madaki plain sheets to tender his resignation from the House if he was really keen on Dogara stepping down .
This afforded lawmakers in support of the leadership of the House an opportunity to come up with another round of surprise as they freely distributed dozens of newly packaged green coloured mufflers with the inscription “I stand with Dogara” among themselves to intimidate members of the Transparency Group.
The drama lasted for another 45 minutes before Dogara, who appeared unruffled, called the House to order to enable them to attend to other business of the day which included the tremor affecting some communities in Kaduna State and the economic recession.
While referring to the provisions of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, Cap L12, Orkev –Jev described Jibrin’s allegations as contemptuous of the House of Representatives as an institution.
Dogara referred the matter to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges for investigation, just as he directed the panel to turn in its the report, findings and appropriate recommendations next week.
Jibrin, at the start of proceedings, was seen walking round the chamber with tons of documents that appeared to be the controversial 2016 budget unmolested and unhindered.
Earlier, Dogara in his welcome address, described Jibrin’s allegation as wild and baseless.
But Jibrin has said he would not appear before the Committee on Ethics and Privileges to answer charges bordering on smearing of the image of the House over the 2016 budget.
In a statement, Jibrin said appearing before the Ossai Nicholas Ossai-led panel would amount to allowing Dogara and the other principal officers accused of padding the 2016 budget superintend over his investigation, thereby making the speaker a judge in his own case.
Saying he intended to throw up the budget padding saga for deliberation on the floor of the House, he alleged Dogara did not allow due process to prevail before granting the point of order raised by Orkev-Jev that led to the adoption of the motion to probe him.