Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The House of Representatives has resolved to allow the former Chairman of the Committee on Appropriation, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, to enter its precincts for the purpose of appearing before the Committee on Ethics and Privileges which is in the process of investigating two petitions against him.
The Chairman of the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai, in a motion on Wednesday, said the committee is in possession of a petition against the suspended lawmaker on his absenteeism and poor representation of Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State in the House of Representatives.
The second petition, is from the anti- corruption unit of the National Youth Council of Nigeria accusing Abdulmumin of maintaining foreign accounts in contravention of the constitution which bars public officials from operating foreign accounts.
Abdulmumin has been engrossed in a battle of wits with the House, following his accusations of budget fraud he levelled against Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yussuff Sulaimon Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader, Leo Ogor.
Ossai, sought leave of the House to allow Abdulmumin who was suspended for 180 legislative sitting days in September, to enter the premises when invited by the Committee.
Under the House rules, a suspended member cannot enter the House, for the duration of his suspension.
The motion passed but not without some drama. Hon. Aliyu Madaki (Kano APC) raised a point of order, which noted that reference would not be made to a matter that is in Court.
“Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin is not my friend, let me state that clearly, but let us do the right thing. Mr. Speaker, this matter is in court, and we should do justice to everyone,” he said.
Madaki added that since Abdulmumin is already on suspension from the House, adopting the motion would amount to overkill. Speaker Yakubu Dogara, however noted that the petitions do not have anything to do with the matter in the court, where the embattled lawmaker is challenging his suspension.
“…we are not aware of any matter bordering on foreign accounts in court, or on representation. The committee, in my opinion is asking for fair hearing for him, he has a right to fair hearing,” Dogara said.
Ogor echoed the sentiment of the Speaker, and noted that all petitions sent to the House must receive attention.
“Let the parties come to present their case, and let him be given a chance to defend himself,” Ogor said.
It is unclear if Abdulmumin would agree to appear before the Ethics Committee, after he had shunned the invitation to appear to defend himself against allegations of breaches of privileges of members of the House and sundry acts of misconduct.