Budget padding: Why Dogara, others are after me – Jibrin | Nigeria Newspaper- Nigeria News| Naija News


Budget padding: Why Dogara, others are after me – Jibrin

Budget padding: Why Dogara, others are after me -  Jibrin
Former Chairman, Appropriation Committee, House of Representatives, Abdulmumin Jibrin disclosed Thursday why the House’s Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers of the lower legislative chamber were bent on expelling him.

Jibrin said he attracted the wrath of the House’s leadership when, as Chairman of the Appropriation Committee he rejected alleged proposals by Dogara and others to corner about N90billion to themselves from the 2016 budget.
He made this claim in a fresh document he filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja in furtherance of his suit marked: FHC/ABJ/CS:595/2016, seeking to among others, restrain the House’s leadership from suspending him from the House.
Defendants in the suit are the House of Representatives, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Dogara, Yusuf Lasun (Deputy Speaker), Alhassan Ado Doguwa, Leo Ogor, Herman Hembe, Umar Mohammed Bago, Zakari Mohammed, Chike Okafor, Dan Asuquo, Jagaba Adms, Haliru Jika and Uzoma Abonta.
In the document filed yesterday, Jibrin, an All Progressives Congress legislator, representing Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State, said he had some conflicts with the House’s leadership because he rejected their unlawful directives.
He said, in the document – a counter affidavit – deposed to on his behalf by one of his lawyers, Nura Abdulrrahman that one of such instances was his “refusal to admit into the nation’s 2016 budget the sum of about N30b.
“His refusal to cover up the decision of the 3rd to 14th defendants’ (Dogara and others’) unilateral decision to allocate to themselves N40b out of the N100b allocated to the entire National Assembly, in addition to what he (Jibrin) considered as wasteful projects of over N20b to the 3rd – 14th defendants’ constituencies.
“Even when he (Jibrin) had given the defendants/respondents, especially the 3rd (Dogara) statistics of 2000 new projects introduced into the Appropriation Bill by less than 10 committee members, the 3rd defendant took no decision or corrective.
“When the inflation of the said budget became a matter of public interest and controversy, the defendant, especially the 3rd -14th started taking measures to avoid responsibility and to place the entire issue on the shoulders of the plaintiff so as to use him (Jibrin) as a scapegoat,” Abdulrrahman said in the counter affidavit filed in response to the defendants’ notice of preliminary objection.
Jibrin denied claim by Dogara that he (the plaintiff) was removed as the Chair of the House’s Appropriation Committee. He said he voluntarily resigned his position and informed Dogara to that effect on July 20, 2016.
As against the defendants’ claim in their objection that they were no planning to suspend Jibrin, and that the House did not intend to reconvene before the end of its vacation, Jibrin stated that Dogara and others were plotting to reopen the House and suspend him.
He urged the court to proceed to determine his case. And grant all his reliefs, which include a declaration that the decision taken by the defendants at a meeting held on August 3, 2016 to suspend the plaintiff as a member of the House of Reps without granting him the right to fair hearing is unlawful.
He also seeks a declaration that the defendants are bound to comply with the provisions of sections 49, 54, 56 and 60 of the 199 Constitution and the Standing Orders of the House of Reps, regulating its sitting, procedure and other matters in the conduct of its legislative functions as provided in the Constitution and the Standing Orders made pursuant to the Constitution.
Dogara and others have, in the notice of preliminary objection they filed on Tuesday, urged the court to decline jurisdiction to hear the case and strike it out on the grounds that the suit disclosed “no reasonable cause of action.”
The Clerk, Appropriation Committee of the House of Representatives, Dr. Abel Ochigbo faulted Jibrin’s claims and stated that there was no plan to suspend him and that no meeting has been held to that effect.
Ochigbo, who deposed to the affidavit supporting the defendants’ objection, stated that all that were done during the process leading to the passage of the budget was within the law. He added that since the budget has become law, nobody could query the steps taken by the law makers.
“The 2016 Appropriation Act was duly passed by the National Assembly and assented to by the President of the federal Republic of Nigeria. The issue of any officer of the House taking any decisive action against any particular member or members does not arise as the Appropriation Bill has now become the Appropriation Act.
“The issue of inflation of the 2016 budget does not arise as the Appropriation Bill was passed by the House of Representatives pursuant to powers vested in the House by the Constitution and in line with the Standing Orders of the House.
“The Bill was duly certified pursuant to the provisions of the Acts Authentication Act before it was duly assented to by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and it is now being executed as an Act of the National Assembly.”
Yesterday plaintiff’s lawyer, Abdulamid Mohammed informed the court that the defendants served him with their objection on Wednesday and that he has filed a response. He sought a short stand down of proceedings to enable him retrieve a copy of his response from the court’s Registry.
Defendants’ lawyer, Kalu Onuoha objected to Mohammed’s request for a stand-down. He sought an adjournment to enable him study the plaintiff’s response and decide whether or not to equally respond.
Trial judge, Justice Okon Abang noted that since it would be impossible for the court to conclude hearing in the case before the end of the court’s long vacation (September 9) it was unnecessary to commence hearing in the case during vacation.
Justice Abang, who currently sits as the court’s vacation judge, elected to return the case file to the Chief Judge for reassignment after vacation.


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