By Christiana Ekpa and Umar Muhammad Puma
The House of Representatives yesterday directed its committee on Ethics and Privileges to investigate statements made by Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin (APC Kano) and Mohammed Gudaji Kazuare (APC Jigawa) on the decision took by the lawmakers at the joint session held on Tuesday for investigation.
The lawmakers are being accused of “misrepresenting” the lower legislative chamber with false information concerning the ongoing rift between the National Assembly and the executive arm of government.
Jibrin had, in a statement on behalf of the Parliamentary Support Group, a group of senators and members of the House of Representatives loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari, distanced the group from Tuesday’s resolution of the National Assembly.
Kazuare, on his part, had alleged that lawmakers are collating signatures to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.
A joint executive session of both chambers of the assembly on Tuesday, passed a 12-point condition for the president to address urgently or face the invocation of the powers of the legislature.
Senate President Bukola Saraki, who read the resolutions, added that the legislature will exercise its constitutional power if President Buhari fails to act.
Reacting to the resolutions passed, a group of lawmakers — parliamentary support group — led by Jibrin alleged the decisions reached at the end of the session were not endorsed by all the lawmakers.
“Almost all the members and senators that spoke at the executive session are of the PDP while members of the APC declined joining the discussion to avoid a rowdy confrontation as the entire session could easily pass for a PDP executive session,” the group had said.
The decision of the House was sequel to a matter of breach of privilege moved by Sunday Karimi (Kogi, PDP) drawing the attention of the House to the statement by Mr. Jibrin.
In the same vein, the Chairman, House Committee on Ethics and Privilege, Hon Ossai Nicholas Ossai, who also spoke under matters of privilege, drew the attention of the House to the comments made by Hon Mohammed Gudaji Kazuare, alleging that the lawmakers are collating signatures to impeach President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ossai pointed out that Kazaure, during the media briefing, alleged that himself and Hon Kingsley Chinda were leading the collation of signatures for the impeachment of President Buhari.
Hon. Ossai told the House to investigate the allegation, adding that he was prepared to step down as chairman of the Ethics and Privilege Committee, so that his deputy can preside over the case, since he cannot be a judge in his own case.
In his contribution, Hon. Chinda dismissed the statement credited to Kazaure, noting that there is no big deal about the allegation by Kazuare.
He said that both the impeachment of the President and making laws are the duty of the legislature.
The lawmaker said: “I don’t think that this House should bother itself. Whether the impeachment of the president or making law, it is the duty of this House.”
Referring the matter to the Committee on Ethics and Privileges, the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, condemned the action of the Kano lawmaker and described him as always absent but always the first to run to the press.
“I have a problem with members who don’t come for sitting; and immediately approaching the press when a decision is taken. We shouldn’t mislead the public. It is very unfortunate,” the speaker said.
Jibrin, barely two months ago, returned from a suspension which lasted for over a year; and he might be headed for another stiff legislative sanction if the committee concludes its investigation.
He was suspended by his colleagues in September, 2016 for 180 legislative days after he exposed a budget padding scandal.
He accused the speaker, deputy speaker, Lasun Yussuff; the chief whip, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa; and the minority leader, Leo Ogor, of padding the 2016 budget with over N30 billion constituency projects.
He submitted a petition against the principal officers at the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), State Security Services (SSS) and the Police headquarters all in Abuja.
After being on suspension for over a year, Mr. Dogara said Mr. Jibrin was recalled after apologizing to the House.
The lawmaker, however, later got a court judgment which voided his suspension and asked the House to pay him all his entitlements for the period.