Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin on Thursday cleared the air on the heated exchange between himself and the Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala when she appeared before the committee on December 19, 2013, to answer some questions on the state of the nation’s economy.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala had shortly after presenting the 2014 budget proposal on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan, appeared before the committee but informed them that she would not be able to take all their questions as she was feeling indisposed. This prompted Hon. Jibrin to give the minister what he called “soft landing” to go and prepare a written response to their questions within two weeks so as not to jeopardize her health any further.
The turn of events appeared to jolt the minister, who said she would “manage” to answer the questions as best as she could but Mr. Jibrin refused insisting that the committee has an exception for people who are “not feeling fine”.
Maintaining his position when he appeared on Channels Television’s Business Morning, the finance committee chairman said the minister was prevented from making her presentation for three reasons.
“One was in her own interest. Secondly we need to protect ourselves and thirdly we need to protect the institution of the House”, Jibrin, member representing Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State in the lower legislative chamber, said.
He continued by saying that the Minister “took time to explain how sick she was” and as a result, any right-thinking parliamentarian would be a sadist to allow that person to continue that session.
“We protected her because if she had collapsed in the cause of that we would have not done a good decision”, he stressed.