The former chairman of House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, has failed to appear before the House Ethics and Privileges Committee.
The Committee is investigating his allegations of budget padding.
In line with earlier threats from the embattled lawmaker, Jibrin said that referring the matter to the House Committee on Ethics and Privileges was a plot to dilute the ongoing external investigation by anti-graft agencies.
He, therefore, warned that he will not appear before Speaker Yakubu Dogara’s ethics committee unless the hearing is made public.
He said: “The grand plan is to dilute the ongoing external investigation by the police and EFCC and use the Ethics Committee for a soft landing.
“I have said repeatedly, I stand by my allegations and will continue this struggle to expose the 2016 budget fraud and corruption in the house even if I am alone,’’ he said
“I completely disagree with this approach because it will mean that the speaker is superintending over his investigation and that clearly makes him a judge in his own case.
“The allegations I raised are too grievous to be reduced to such process open to manipulation and teleguiding.
“I will, therefore, continue to cooperate with the anti-graft agencies which are already doing investigation the matter and will also proceed to build a massive coalition with Civil Society Organisations and other well-meaning Nigerians.
“This is to ensure that this matter is not swept under the carpet.
“Since I can substantiate the allegations I raised with cogency, I will take up the opportunity provided by the Ethics Committee to state my case under the condition that the hearing will be public.
“And will allow the Press, CSOs, NGOs, NLC, ASUU, NANS, NBA and the general public to witness the entire proceedings.
The chairman of the committee, Nicholas Ossai, however, said that Jibrin’s absence is a defense in itself and the committee would complete its work with the evidence it has gathered so far.
Jibrin had said that the House has lost the moral ground to discharge its legislative functions as it has failed to address the allegations decisively.
“I have given sufficient reason, I am not going before any ethics committee. I have explained to you, the chairman of the ethics committee himself has made a lot of public statements…that there is nothing like padding and padding is not an offence.
“And he is the person who is going to pass a judgment on me,” he said.
The lawmaker displayed documents which he says backs up the allegations he has made against the Speaker and some members of the House.
He also asked the Senate to pass a resolution empowering it to take over the functions of the House until the allegations are addressed.
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