Budget padding scandal: Falana writes Dogara, warns against probing Jibrin

Femi Falana
Photo credits: Newsbreakers
Femi Falana Photo credits: Newsbreakers

A senior Nigerian lawyer, Femi Falana, has written to the speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, demanding an immediate discontinuation of the house’s investigation of Abdulmumin Jibrin.

Mr. Falana said the probe was an attempt to suspend Mr. Jibrin, despite an ongoing court case against such move.

Mr. Jibrin, a member of the house from Kano, is accused of misconduct after he accused Mr. Dogara and other leaders of budget fraud.

The house has not investigated the alleged corruption.

Instead, it mandated the Ethics and Privileges Committee to probe claims by some members that Mr. Jibrin damaged their reputation by making public allegations, and not following internal channels.

The committee opened sitting Friday, but Mr. Jibrin is billed to appear on Monday.

Mr. Falana, who is Mr. Jibrin’s lawyer, said in his letter that Mr. Dogara should disband the committee because its constitution contravened the house rules.

Citing order 9 rule 5 of the House, he said Mr. Dogara lacked the powers to constitute a panel over a matter that was before a court.

Mr. Falana said Mr. Jibrin had filed an action before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court with suit No.: FHC/ABJ/CS/50/5/2016 between Mr. Jibrin and the House of Representatives and 13 others.

Mr. Falana said Mr. Dogara was represented in the suit by his lawyer, Ikechukwu Obiora & Co.

He threatened to commence contempt of court proceedings against the speaker if the investigation of Mr. Jibrin continued.

In a separate statement Friday, Mr. Jibrin said he would ensure the Mr. Dogara did not escape the unfolding budget padding scandal unscathed, saying his “day of reckoning is so close”.

“There is nothing you can do on earth to stop it. No amount of lobbying, legislative antics or blackmail of members of the House, Senate, executive arm or individuals outside the House can help you and your cabal of few corrupt members,” Mr. Jibrin said in the statement. “Mr Speaker, this struggle is like the rising sun, it is unstoppable.”

On Friday, the ethics committee, headed by Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta), heard testimony from Emmanuel Oker-Jev, a lawmaker who moved the motion for Mr. Jibrin’s censure and suspension on Wednesday.

Mr. Oker-Jev tendered evidence of how Mr. Jibrin allegedly rubbished the integrity of the House through his widespread dissemination of internal House documents against the leadership of the House.

Mr. Jibrin raised questions about the impartiality of the committee in another statement to Mr. Ossai Friday.

“You did not state what I did that amounted to misconduct so (that) even if I intend to attend, I can know what exactly I am being accused of and come prepared,” Mr. Jibrin said. “This is clear indication that the outcome of your “investigation” is already predetermined.”

Mr. Jibrin scolded Mr. Ossai for prioritising disciplinary actions against him rather than address the allegations in his own petition against Mr. Dogara.

The letter by Mr. Falana came after Mr. Jibrin had assured that he would appear before Mr. Ossai’s committee, if its hearing was made public. Friday’s sitting today was witnessed by journalists.

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.

All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Karl Imom

    Orker-Jev is a known thief from Benue State. How does exposure of criminals in the House of Representatives constitute damage to their credibility? By the way, do thieves have any credibility to be damaged? Orker Jev, is a known criminal who among others ransacked Benue State Treasury before moving to Abuja.

  • Man_Enough

    i am happy that a layer of repute is going to represent jibrin. i look forward to a complete disgrace of the “united thieves” in the national assembly. the house ought to have set up a committee to investigate the allegations first and foremost. if there is nothing found in the allegation then it follows naturally that jibrin has erred and any action could be taken.

  • WilliamWilberforce

    The shock is that Buhari is saying nothing.

  • ese

    if they cant investigate the allegations raised against the speakers and his boys first then they are a disgrace, punishing jibrin shows that they are all guilty as charged, if not go and investigate that before probing jibrin.

    • Olatubosun

      They are on investigation

  • Olatubosun

    Our legislators are deviksdevils

  • Gideons

    I bet you that this one too will be sweep under carpet like that of Saraki case. Trust Nigeria.

  • Realitytalk

    This are the people slowing down the anticorruption crusade of the president, the Dogara guy himself but he will be dealt with when the anticorrution case kick off

  • Jacob Chile

    I wonder if the House of Representatives is no longer a public institution that emerged out of our public votes. Why shroud its affairs in secrecy when Nigerians have the right to know what goes on there? Issues surrounding the national budget should not be seen as hidden ones but what Nigerians must know, so for Jibrin to publicize it is just performance of a public duty that does not attract nor deserve punishment in any form. It is high time we learnt to imbibe morals in governance.

  • vagabonds in power

    Falana has taken his usual dose of Igbo again—-to enable him talk rubbish on behalf of the Luciferic episode designed by the Apes in APC to deceive 9jas again—-in the House of Rep–He is not interested in knowing how Jibrin got over 1m pounds deposit in a London Bank—because of his Fulni tribal Marks——Jibrin a Malian who arrived Nigeria with his parents via the Cameroon Mountains-should be sanctioned-he is a thief——————————If he had been an Ijaw lawbreaker–Falana would have called for his head the usual Yoruba way–tribalism again abi-?–It is nothing but the truth–that is why the Fulanis and Yorubas left Aisha Buhari and her Halliburton case to chase Mrs Jonathan——-the Holy One—-Animals

  • Okokondem

    The enigma for me is the executive branch reluctance and apparent refusal to weigh in on this important issue. Makes me wonder about the seriousness of the anticorruption crusade.

  • Okokondem

    THE PROBLEM WITH NIGERIA…

    Earlier today, I read on this website, from this newspaper, an attempt to rehabilitate the image of BANKOLE.

    About a decade or so ago, Bankole as you all know was a young Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, who resigned under a cloud of controversy.

    According to his bio on Wikipedia,

    “Bankole secured a 10bn naira ($65m; £40m) loan, which was then shared out among senior figures in parliament as a pay rise in a country where more than 60% of the population live below the poverty.

    Mr Bankole has acknowledged that the loan exists but says he did not gain personally.

    The judge although clearing Mr Bankole stated the salary increase was “immoral, wrong and condemnable” but no crime was committed even though a debt was being undertaken at the repayment expense of a poor nation for the benefit of a few. No law at that time existed against such actions to selfishly benefit the lawmakers, so no crime was technically committed.”

    He disappeared from public view ever since only to reappear this week as some kind of a statesman, delivering lectures to younger kids, touting his foray and adventures as an artisan in aluminum molding or welding or some crap in his youth.

    This is what is wrong with Nigeria — lawmakers entrusted with making legislation, judges and Lawyers who adjudicate our legal cases, ministers and heads of departments and agencies charged with managing these institutions, pseudo clergymen parading as saviors, contractors, oh yes, contractors who never execute on projects for which they have collected money, the list is endless, who for some God forsaken reason are never held accountable despite all the grandstanding by the EFCC and the likes.

    The most troubling part is that Nigerians in fact appear to have some sickening admiration for the people who rob them of their commonwealth, a behavior akin to Stockholm syndrome.

    You should hear the Nigerian press describe these people and their ill-gotten gains in enviable terms, seeming to wish they were in their positions.

    Things like, “his Hilltop Mansion” — without ever stopping to ask themselves how that could ever be possible all things being equal. How does one become a millionaire, or billionaire simply by serving his country in the capacity that he did.

    The person who felt the need to report this story about Bankole that is of no consequence or relevance to pressing issues facing Nigerians today, in a newspaper some of us have come to associate with a little more serious news about Nigeria than what is obtainable in other newspapers, should have at least put it in perspective by referencing who Bankole is, and the circumstances surrounding his departure from the house of Representatives, and from public life, for the period he was absent. That’s how you inform and at the same time respect your readers.

    ◇◇◇

  • Jacky

    As a “whistleblower” is about to be humiliated and punished, I wonder if the FG has relegated on its duty of “protection” and gone to sleep again. Is Jibrin on his own for letting Nigerians know about the massive fraud called “budget padding” by the National Assembly? The FG must wake from its slumber!