Constituents of Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State have expressed mixed reactions to the continued suspension of their representative in the House of Representatives.
A former Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, was suspended by the House for 180 legislative days September last year after he accused its leadership of padding the 2016 Budget and other acts of financial malpractice.
The sanction lapsed on September 30 but the House said he cannot resume until he tenders public apology to the House, a condition which the embattled legislator has refused to meet.
Mr. Jibrin’s ordeal began after he was stripped of the chairmanship of the prestigious committee following the outbreak of 2016 Budget padding scandal.
He had then publicly accused the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, and three other principal officers of culpability for the alleged budget padding.
The other three he accused are the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun; the Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor.
Mr. Jibrin and some members of his constituency are challenging his suspension in court and their “lack of having representation in the House”,but the case has lingered at the Federal High Court and the stalemate prolonged.
In separate interviews with PREMIUM TIMES, some of the constituents randomly selected by this newspaper said the suspension has taken longer than necessary and urged the House to allow their representative to return to his duties.
Others, however, said it is better that Mr. Jibrin vacates the seat to allow for a bye election.
“Although I am aware that this same matter is before a court, we want our member to be allowed to resume his legislative duties,”Umar Dakatsale of Bebeji local government area told Premium Times last week.
“Today, we the people of his constituency are the ones losing out because we don’t have any federal presence, which ordinarily our legislator would have worked hard to bring through his effort and presentation of motions.”
Similarly, another constituent, Habibu Barde, said the constituency has been shortchanged by not having a representative, saying the people are not happy about the development.
He called on the leadership of the House to bring the matter to a close and allow Mr. Jibrin resume his duties.
Expressing a contrary view, however, another constituent, Adamu Tiga accused Mr. Jibrin of irresponsibility, alleging that he had dragged the constituency into disrepute.
“Can you imagine somebody that was elected to give his people good representation fighting everybody, making unguarded remarks against people in the National Assembly?
“Jibrin accused all the legislators of being thieves and said he was given money and he was ready to return the money, but why hasn’t he returned the money?” Mr. Tiga queried.
He suggested that Mr. Jibrin should vacate the seat and allow for a fresh election.
“We want this person Jibril Abdulmuminu Kofa to completely vacate that seat and allow for a fresh election because he has failed his people.Instead of working hard for the good of his constituency he ended up fighting everybody.”
A former All Progressives Congress Chairman in Bebeji local government area, Sani Ranka, declined to comment on the issue because of the case in court but said he no longer had m or support for Mr. Jibrin.
A senior advocate of Nigeria, Hassan Liman, also said he could not comment on the issue. He, however, said suspension of a member is allowed by the standing rule of the House of Representatives.
“Suspension of a member of the National Assembly is governed by the standing rule of the House. If any member commits acts that violates the standing rule or does anything that will bring the house to ridicule, they have the power to suspend him for a reasonable period of time,” Mr. Liman said.
“But that should be after going through necessary investigations and the allegations had been confirmed.”
He however said the punishment envisaged in legislature’s standing rule was not the kind of suspension being applied in the Nigerian Legislature.
Mr. Liman added that since Mr. Jibrin has served out the 180 legislative days for which he was suspended, he should be able to return to the House and resume his legislative functions.
“If you are suspended for 180 legislative days and you refuse to come back to the house after your suspension then your constituency can say you are no longer pursuing their interest,” the senior wig added.
He said it would be in the best interest of Mr. Jibrin to do whatever he has to do to resume at the House, even if he is still determined to pursue his legal battle.
“He was elected to represent a section of the country and he doesn’t know when the legal battle will end.”