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Budget padding: I’ll not appear before committee —Jibrin

FORMER chairman of the House of Representatives Appropriation Committee, Honourable Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Sunday, vowed never to appear before the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges as directed by the House.

The House had asked the committee to probe breaches of members’ privileges in the allegations Jibrin levelled against the Speaker, Honourable Yakubu Dogara and others on the padding of the 2016 budget.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, on Sunday, ahead of the today’s sitting of the committee, headed by Honourable Nicholas Ossai, Jibrin declared that his matter was referred to the committee for the Speaker to get clean bill of health on the allegations rather than addressing the allegations squarely.

This came just as Jibrin urged the Senate to take over the functions of the House of Representatives, by invoking the doctrine of necessity, in order to force the Speaker and other accused principal officers from office.

This, he said, would allow for transparent investigations into all the allegations he levelled against them.

Jibrin, who challenged the Speaker and other accused members to deny his allegations, also reiterated his readiness to point out every item allegedly inserted by who, under what sub-head, the MDAs and the amount involved respectively.

Showing several documents to buttress his allegations on the budget padding, he declared that he was ready to go to jail if the allegations were found to be false.

In a swift reaction, chairman, House Committee on Ethics and Privileges, Honourable Osai Nicholas Osai, said his committee was looking forward to seeing Honourable Jibrin at the hearing and  advised him to appear in his own interest.

Osai said since Jibrin had not formally written the committee stating his intention to shun the hearing and the reasons for such action, he would advise that his appearing to state his own side of the story would do him a lot of good than staying away.

While reacting to allegations that members of his committee were already biased and had taken side with the Speaker on the matter, Osai said any member discovered to be an interested party by implication and conduct would be asked to excuse him or herself from the hearing.

In his reaction, chairman, House Committee on Media and Publicity, Honourable Abdulrazak Namdas, said Jibrin had been given the opportunity to defend himself.