Former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has stated that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, used legislative tricks to save himself by not allowing the budget padding allegations to be debated by members.
Declaring that he would not appear before any House committee except its hearing is made public; he asserted that “the struggle has just begun”.
Recall that the House had on Wednesday descended into a rowdy session where it passed a motion to investigate the breach of members’ privileges as a result of recent allegations made by the ousted chairman.
The motion, moved by Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Oker-Jev, said the lower chamber had come under “heavy attack” following the allegations.
Jibrin is to appear before the Ethics and Privileges committee, which would investigate him and make recommendations to the House; if found guilty by the committee, the embattled lawmaker risks six months suspension.
He said in a statement, “Rather than open up the matter for discussion in view of the public interest it has generated and allow me to brief my colleagues, an opportunity I have been denied for several months, Mr speaker deployed some legislative tricks and theatrics to save the day.
“In a move that smacks of abuse of process, Speaker Dogara granted under point of order, an opportunity to the chairman of business and rules committee, who started with a speech then suddenly transited to a motion under privilege — a clear case of manipulation and gross abuse of the house rule.
“This is the easiest resort since the attempts to secure a vote of confidence had woefully failed.
“But what happened on the floor of the House today is just the end of another beginning. I have never lived with the illusion that this matter will be a sprint, knowing the deeply-rooted corrupt interest of a few cabal in the House, headed by Speaker Dogara.
“I have all the stamina and agility to go the marathon and ensure justice is served. Despite all these and since I can substantiate the allegations I raised with cogency, I will take up the opportunity provided by the Ethics committee to state my case under the condition that the hearing will be public and will allow the Press, CSOs, NGOs, NLC, ASUU, NANS, NBA and the general public to witness the entire proceedings.
“Predictably, in his speech, Mr. Speaker tried to drag the entire House into the matter to give the impression that the entire House is the accused. I wish to state for the umpteenth times that the allegations I raised are against the quartet of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yusuf Lasun, House Whip Alhassan Doguwa, Minority Leader Leo Ogor and few other members — not the honourable house as an institution.
“The bad news for Nigerians is that in the face of such grievous allegations against the Speaker, which members are aware of, and his decision to sit tight, he has become a lame duck Speaker. But even more painfully is the fact that we will continue to call, though in the short run, such fraudulent and corrupt persons in Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa and Ogor number 4 citizen and principal officers of the House respectively.
“Let me use this opportunity to reassure Nigerians that the struggle has just begun.”