The House of Representatives was, yesterday, thrown into a rowdy session over moves to suspend former chairman of the Appropriation Committee, Abdulmumin Jibrin.
Jibrin’s case was referred to the Ossai Nicholas Ossai-led House Committee on Ethics and Privileges for dragging the chamber’s reputation in the mud and also, tainting the integrity of the Green Chamber with allegations against the leadership.
Jibrin had accused Speaker Yakubu Dogara, his deputy, Yusuff Lasun, Minority Leader, Leo Ogor and Majority Whip, Ado Doguwa of budget padding.
The committee was given a week to submit its report.
Daily Sun had exclusively reported of well laid-out plans by pro-Dogara lawmakers to move a motion on Matters of Privileges, citing Order 6 of the House Standing Rules based on which Jibrin would be referred to the Ethics and Privileges Committee.
The script played out in the chamber, yesterday.
Prior to commencement of the session yesterday, a group of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) including the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) and Coalition of Concerned Democrats (CCD) besieged the National Assembly Complex in Abuja and demanded Jibrin’s suspension.
The group, led by Mr. Ikenga Imo Ugochinyere, told reporters they have petitioned Attorney-General of the Federation/Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami (SAN), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), accusing Jibrin of corruption.
Back in the chamber, the Point of Order raised on the collective breach of the privileges of the members of the House was moved by Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Emmanuel Orker -Jev.
Orker-Jer told members that the media had laid the ground for a rowdy session and stressed that the chamber must disappoint expectations of some groups by conducting its session peacefully.
He demanded Dogara’s exit before he presented the motion. As soon as he said this, there were shouts of, “no! no!” by those against the request. The noisy situation prevailed even as the lawmaker was permitted by the speaker to state his case. Before Dogara recognised Orkar-Jev to move his Point of Order, another member, Aliyu Madaki also tried to raise another Point of Order on a breech of his privileges.
Dogara intervened and asking that Madaki allow Jev complete presentation of his motion after which he would be heard. But the Kano lawmaker, who held up two copies of different versions of the House Standing Orders stood up for about 10 minutes to be heard even as the pro-Dogara lawmakers heckled him and asked him to sit down.
Dogara had asked for a seconder of the motion and though hands were raised, no one seconded the motion. But Jev’s motion was approved with a loud shout of ‘aye’ as Dogara immediately put it to question.
Dogara then dared Madaki to first present his letter of resignation to him as speaker as he had pointed out that members of House had been accused of graft, before he would do same. This led to applause from the Speaker’s supporters, who soon started chanting his name. Sensing victory for the day, the supporters dragged in Ghana Must Go” bags containing green mufflers with: “I stand With Dogara” inscribed on them and immediately distributed them to members.