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Budget Padding: House of Reps Suspends Jibrin

The House of Representatives has suspended a member of the House, Honorable Abdulmumin Jibrin. The decision to suspend Jibrin was announced by the House Committee of ethics and is in a new chapter in a long-drawn dispute at the lower house. Jibrin stirred the hornet’s nest in July when he revealed that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and other principal members of the house had padded the 2016 budget.

In a series of disclosures following his July allegations, Mr. Jibrin, who has turned into a crusader of sorts against official sleaze in the nation’s legislative arm, accused the principal officers of living a life of luxury, which they never enjoyed before becoming legislators.

The accused lawmakers, who currently serve in various capacities as principal officers of the lower legislative chambers, have allegedly shared more than N10 billion amongst themselves as “office running cost”.

In a statement which Mr Jibrin released last month, he said the 10 principal officers and the funds they have allegedly received so far as running costs, included the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, who allegedly got the lion share of N1.5 billion. Others on the list included Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, N800 million; Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, N1.2 billion; his deputy, Buba Jibril, N1.2 billion; House Whip, Alhassan Doguwa, N1.2 billion; and his deputy, Pally Iriase, N700 million.

The rest included Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, N1.2 billion; Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde, N700 million; Deputy Minority Whip, Binta Bello, N700 million; and one Chuma he listed as Minority Whip, N700 million.

Abdulmumin Jibrin had served as the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee but resigned as he begun to make the allegations. He leveled several other allegations against the House leadership, all of which were refuted. Yakubu Dogara even threatened to sue Jibrin for libel.

The House Committee on Ethics and Privileges set up a committee to investigate the issue and invited Jibrin to appear before it. Jibrin refused to honor the invitation, claiming that the committee itself was tainted.

He has now been suspended for 180 legislative days for his refusal to honor the committee’s invitation. The House of Reps seats three days in a week, this subsequently means that his suspension will continue for more than a year.

He will be barred from the premises of the National Assembly in the course of the disciplinary action. The lawmaker would also not receive salaries or allowances.

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