Principal Officers in the House of Representatives on Thursday said the removal of a former chairman of House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, was done in the best interest of Nigeria.
The lawmakers, which include Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, took “full responsibility” for the dismissal of Mr. Jibrin from his post.
“The decision to relieve the erstwhile Appropriation Chairman of his position was a collective decision of the leadership in response to unrelenting pressures from the overwhelming majority of Honorable Members who were irked by the former Chairman’s gross abuse of the budget process,” the lawmakers said.
The 10 lawmakers who signed the statement included, Mr. Dogara, his deputy, Lasun Yusuf, Mr. Gbajabiamila, Deputy Majority Leader, Buba Jibril, House Whip, Ado Doguwa and Deputy Chief Whip, Pally Iriase.
Others included: Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, Minority Whip, Yakubu Barde, Deputy Minority Leader, Chukwuma Onyem and Fatima Maigari.
Mr. Jibrin left his post on July 20. The House accused him of breach of trust.
Mr. Jibrin pushed back against the allegation, saying his effort to assert his authority against alleged fraudulent attempt by the speaker and others to manipulate the budget, earned him sanction.
Mr. Jibrin also refused to let the matter die in the House, taking the fight to the public by releasing internal House documents that he said illustrated how the budget was severely padded by Mr. Dogara and other lawmakers.
He also visited law enforcement agencies, including the EFCC, SSS and the police, where he said he personally submitted petitions that contained evidence of fraudulent manipulation of budget by Mr. Dogara and 12 others.
The House denied the allegations.
In their statement tonight, the principal officers, numbering 10, said Mr. Jibrin’s “allegations are wild, baseless and unfounded”.
The lawmakers said the House joined forces with the Senate to take over scrutiny of the 2016 budget from Mr. Jibrin when they discovered that he had bungled the process.
“The Leadership of the House of Representatives wishes to reaffirm that it took collective action, in conjunction with the Senate and a team from the Executive, to rescue the 2016 Budget when it became obvious that the former appropriation Chairman had placed both the document and the process in jeopardy resulting in a spate of agitations from Ministries, Departments and Agencies,” the lawmakers said.
The principal officers said they would take careful measures in dealing with the attacks from Mr. Jibrin “upon the resumption of the House” in September.
Mr. Jibrin could not be reached for comment for this story.