The Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, on Sunday called on the House of Representatives to discontinue the investigation of Abdulmumin Jibrin, a lawmaker from Kano who’s facing allegation of breach of House ethics and privilege.
The CNPP’s call was contained in a statement signed by its Secretary General, Willy Ezugwu.
Mr. Ezeugwu said the House should compel Speaker Yakubu Dogara to step down from office “rather than engaging in the persecution of the whistleblower.”
“For us, the probe of Mr. Jibrin by Ethics and Privileges Committee of the House, with an obvious predetermined script to suspend him, is nothing but a blackmail by the hunted hunting the hunter in a bid to cover up a gross allegation made by the lawmaker,” the CNPP said. “How can the war against corruption succeed when the principal leadership of the House of Representatives noticeably pays lip service to the anti-corruption drive by the Buhari government?”
“We, therefore, call on the Speaker to immediately disband his probe committee and submit themselves first to an independent investigative panel for open probe of the allegations against them. It is only then can any probe of Hon. Jibrin may be acceptable to well meaning Nigerians.
“If the House is truly concerned about its image, clearing the abuse of office and budget fraud allegation against its Speaker and other principal leaders should be more troubling to them at this time,” the CNPP said.
The group’s statement came hours after Mr. Jibrin addressed a press conference in which he also condemned his investigation and called on Mr. Dogara to step down from office.
Mr. Jibrin said the committee, headed by Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta), lacked requisite independence to carry out a bias investigation.
“The Chairman of the Ethics and privileges Committee has made several public statements acted in such a way and manner that his ability to the impartial in the matter is in doubt. In one of such statements, he told Premium Times that I’m wrong to say padding is an offense,” Mr. Jibrin said.
Mr. Jibrin’s lawyer, Femi Falana, also wrote to Mr. Dogara on Friday seeking immediate discontinuation of the probe.
Mr. Jibrin’s efforts to disband the committee marked a clear contradiction from his earlier commitment to appear before the committee.
Mr. Jibrin on September 21 said he will appear before Mr. Ossai’s committee if the chairman opens the sitting to the public.
“The House belongs to Nigerians not the 360 members! 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 proceedings will be public and the Ethics Committee will allow the press, CSOs, NGOs, NLC, ASUU, NANS, NBA and the general public to witness the entire proceedings
“This is the only way that I can have the comfort and confidence that the proceedings and outcome will not be manipulated or compromised,” Mr. Jibrin said.
“I am ready to appear before the committee even today if the proceedings will be public.”
The committee’s first sitting on Friday was opened to the public and Mr. Jibrin’s demand for its cancellation came after that development.
Mr. Ossai told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday afternoon that he was not aware of any letter from Mr. Jibrin’s lawyer.
“I have not seen any letter from them,” Mr. Ossai said. “But even if they write to us, it won’t stop the members of the committee to continue doing the work the House has mandated them to do.”
Mr. Ossai said his committee hopes to see Mr. Jibrin on Monday and reiterated that it would be an open hearing.