Jibrin explains why he shunned Ethics Committee hearing

The former Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin has given reason for his absence at a hearing on his alleged breach of House Rules by the Committee on Ethics and Privileges.

Jibrin told newsmen on Tuesday that he shunned the panel because the Chairman, Nicholas Ossai had demonstrated bias in words and action.

His words: “Ahead of the resumption of the House I wrote a 17-page letter to all members and one of the issues I raised is that I was finding it difficult to write to the committee on Ethics and Privileges because I do not believe that he has the ability of being impartial.

“He has made a couple of public statements that show clearly that he has become an interested party in the matter.

“I cited the instance where clearly he made a public statement that budget fraud (also known as padding) is not an offence. And of course, there are instances where he mentioned me as a person that in the whole of this matter, I am wrong.

“Right from the beginning, I have my doubt. After the House referred the matter to the Ethics Committee, he called me. And when he called me, I told him that I will appear on the condition that the proceedings would be made public. And I was clear to him that the media will be there, both print and electronic.”

Jibrin said Ossai called him again and agreed that he will do as he requested and will even put it in writing.

He said contrary to his request, he got only a 2-paragraph letter devoid of their agreement and did not itemize how he breached the privileges of members.

Jibrin said that legislative privileges does not include corruption, and that exposing corruption does not constitute breach of privileges.

“In the next few days, if the chairman of the Ethics and Privileges does not concentrate on the issues of allegations I raised against the Speaker and three other principal officers, and the abuse of the privileges of Nigerians, I will take it upon myself to expose how some members have abuse their privileges. I will do it.

“If I’m suspended, it’s illegal. But if they insist they will suspend me, it’s fine. I will step out of the House and continue my crusade and of course, the court will take a position on the contempt that has been done.

“I will contest it if I am suspended because the case is before the court, but if they insisted, I will remain suspended.

“As matter of fact, that will afford me ample time to concentrate on activism especially on fighting corruption in the House from outside.

“It means that I will then have enough time to collaborate with civil society organizations and other like-minds”, he added.

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