The leadership of 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.
This was just as they said the allegations of corruption leveled against the former appropriation committee chair concerning the 2016 budget were wild and baseless.
The House leadership, which include Speaker Yakubu Dogara and Minority Leader Femi Gbajabiamila, took “full responsibility” for the removal 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.
Rising from a meeting late yesterday, the 10 principal officers of the House said all the allegations by the member representing Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State, could easily be verified by Nigerians.
The lawmakers who signed the statement included, Mr. Dogara, his deputy, Yussuf Lasun, 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, since his removal as chairman of the appropriation committee on July 20, claimed that he ran into trouble with Mr. Dogara for asserting his authority against alleged fraudulent attempt by the Speaker and others to manipulate the budget.
The statement reads in part: “In recent weeks, the nation’s public space has been inundated with a treatise of discuss centered around (sic) the concept ‘BUDGET PADDING,’ newly introduced into the lexicon of the Nigerian legislative appropriation process.
“The proponent, the recently sacked Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin sought to make allegations of impropriety against the leadership of the House over the process and content of the 2016 budget passed by the National Assembly and signed into law.
“While the leadership is determined to ensure that absolute diligence, maturity and due process are employed in dealing with the allegations, instead of joining the accuser in a press war, it is important to state, in the interest of the agitated public, that the allegations are wild, baseless and unfounded.
“Good enough, all the said allegations raised are issues that can be easily verified and the public will be availed ample opportunity upon the resumption of the House.
“In the meantime, however, 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”.