Abdulmumin Jibrin

The leadership of the House of Representatives on Saturday dared its former Chairman, Committee on Appropriation, Mr. Abdulmumin Jibrin, to write a formal petition to the House with evidence backing his allegations against the Speaker, Mr Yakubu Dogara, and three other principal officers.

He was also asked to petition the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission or the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, both which had powers to arrest and prosecute the Speaker instead of engaging in a media campaign over his removal as a chairman.

This came as Sunday PUNCH learnt that the leadership had begun to weigh possible punitive actions to take against Jibrin.

The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, disclosed this to Sunday PUNCH in Abuja.

He stated that the media campaign, which served no purpose "other than to smear the image" of the institution, was not acceptable to members.

Namdas, an All Progressives Congress lawmaker from Adamawa State, explained, "We will deal with him appropriately in line with the relevant rules of the House.

"The rule of the House is not to engage in media campaign against its leadership. He has the option of writing a petition to the House, attached with his evidence, when we resume in September.

"Alternatively, let him write to the EFCC or ICPC for investigation. These agencies have powers to arrest and prosecute. These options are available and he should stop running down the House."

Findings by Sunday PUNCH showed that "suspension from the services of the House for bringing its name to disrepute" had been considered and could be executed on resumption of the legislature from its annual recess on September 13.

A National Assembly official stated, "He (Jibrin) breached the rules and procedure of the House. He knows that what he has done is not the right approach.

"He is also passing the message that if a committee chairman is failing in discharging his responsibilities, the leadership should not remove him. We are aware of the crisis that was around the 2016 budget.

"This former chairman was largely responsible and the leadership even tried to save his seat against the demand of the majority of members that he should be removed. To have embarked on a media campaign against the leadership because he was relieved of his position is quite unfortunate"

However, a source close to Jibrin informed Sunday PUNCH that the APC lawmaker from Kano State was "frustrated" and resorted to media war because he was allegedly denied opportunities to use House channels to air his grievances against Dogara.

The source added, "There was a carefully weaved plot to stop him from speaking; they always turned him down.

"The Speaker in particular was avoiding Jibrin. They would convene executive sessions whenever they knew he was not in plenary and took decisions just to cut him off. Jibrin still doesn't know the offence he committed that warranted his removal."

Namdas evaded using the word, suspension, but he maintained that the House would use its "known internal mechanism for resolving issues like this" when members would have reconvened on September 13.

Namdas added, "We don't want to keep arguing with Jibrin on the pages of newspapers or join issues with him. If we continue this way, we are only helping him to get the relevance that he needs. He is seeking public sympathy by throwing up unsubstantiated allegations.

"This is like saying if Mr. President should fire a minister for not doing his job properly, the next thing is for that minister to say it was because the President requested this or that and he objected to the request. Meanwhile, it was clear to all that you didn't do your job. You begin to tell lies.

"We are on recess, and if we keep talking till tomorrow, nothing can be done until we resume in September."

When asked to comment on Jibrin's claim that Dogara had sent the police and Department of State Services operatives after him in a bid to either gag him or restrict his movement, Namdas replied with a loud laughter.

"That is just what I was saying about seeking relevance. Dogara is not that type of person. In any case, why is sending the police after Jibrin necessary when the House has the capacity to address his case?"

Sunday PUNCH also sought to know whether the House would investigate the allegations, as demanded by Jibrin.

Namdas replied that whatever decision to be taken by the House would wait till the resumption in September.

House Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, has kept sealed lips on the development so far.

He neither picked his calls nor replied any of the several text messages sent to him since Thursday last week.

Gbajabiamila left Abuja for Lagos on Saturday, still declining to make any responses.

Dogara had sacked Jibrin on Wednesday over alleged non-performance as a committee chairman. He immediately named Mr. Mustapha Bala-Dawaki from Kano State as his (Jibrin's) replacement.

But, a day after, Jibrin alleged that his sin was that he rejected a request by Dogara, his Deputy, Mr. Yussuff Lasun, the House Whip, Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, and the Minority Leader, Mr. Leo Ogor, to include projects worth N40bn in the 2016 budget for them.

He claimed that the figure was beside other requests for sundry projects worth N30bn and N20 respectively.

Jibrin also stated that Dogara failed to act on reports he made that some committee heads were distorting the budgets of Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

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