Where is Abdulmumin Jibrin?

Abdulmumin Jibrin, the erstwhile chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, has been silent since late last year after his suspension for 181 legislative days by his 359 colleagues. They had claimed that the integrity of the House was battered by the myriad of allegations the lawmaker reeled out to Nigerians following his removal from the most lucrative committee.

Many Nigerians, especially the youth, have been asking the question: Where is Rep Abdulmumin Jibrin? Since his return from a self-imposed exile in December 2016, Nigerians have not heard much from the ‘budget fraud’ allegations guru, as some call him. This curiosity may be based on the fact that Jibrin had, between July and October, 2016, made hundreds of tweets and issued about 50 press statements, apart from a number of press conferences he held, on the alleged budget fraud that took place in the House. In fact, in some cases he issued two press statements in a day. Suddenly, however, it seems he has gone underground.

In the wake of his sack on July 20, 2016 from the plum Appropriation Committee, Jibrin came up with several allegations of budget fraud against Speaker Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Speaker Yussuf Suleiman Lasun, Chief Whip Alhassan Ado Doguwa and Minority Leader Leo Ogor. All, except Ogor, are from Jibrin’s political party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Although Dogara announced at plenary that Jibrin was removed by unanimous consent of the House leadership, the lawmaker claimed he resigned voluntarily. But as it turned out, Jibrin was actually sacked. His removal followed months of protests by his colleagues over his role in the controversy that trailed the 2016 budget, what is now known as “budget padding.’’

He reportedly allocated projects worth N4.3 billion to his Kiru/Bebeji Federal Constituency of Kano State and allegedly tempered with the reports of many of the House committees on the budget.

In his first set of allegations against Dogara and the rest Jibrin said: “The four of them met and took that decision, in addition to billions of wasteful projects running over N20 billion they allocated to their constituencies. They must come out clean. My inability to admit into the budget almost N30 billion personal requests from Mr. Speaker and three other principal officers also became an issue.”

Jibrin went on to accuse Dogara of diverting projects to his personal farm in Nasarawa State, an allegation that the speaker denied.

The lawmaker remained undeterred despite pressures from highly placed Nigerians for him to stop the allegations. On July 27, Dogara gave Jibrin a week ultimatum to retract some of the damaging allegations against the speaker or face legal action. He did not.

On August 11, Jibrin rushed to a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) court and filed a suit, seeking to stop any attempt by the leadership of the House to suspend him.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/539, Jibrin joined Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa, Ogor, the House, clerk to the House, the FCT police commissioner and 10 others as defendants.

In addition, he had on several occasions said he had written to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and other anti-corruption agencies to probe Dogara and the three others. He also claimed to have written to the Nigeria Police Force, foreign embassies, civil society organisations, among others, on the issue. He visited some of the agencies and shared the pictures on the social media early August.

He continued with his allegations against the four leaders of the House until August 27 when he included all the 360 members, saying each member got between N10 million and N20 million as running cost, and that every member of the House was corrupt.

He admitted that he got N650 million within the five years he spent in the lower chamber between 2011 and 2016. He chaired the House Committee on Finance during the 7th Assembly.

On September 17, when the lawmakers were warming up to reconvene from their annual recess, Jibrin wrote a letter to all his colleagues, calling on them to pressurise Dogara and the three others to resign.

But when the House eventually reconvened on September 21, the lawmakers resolved to probe him for tarnishing their image following a motion by Rep Emmanuel Yisa Orker-Jev (APC, Benue).

A week later, the Rep Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta)-led Committee on Ethics and Privileges turned in its report and recommended Jibrin’s suspension for a year plus.

The House adopted all the recommendations contained in the report on September 28. Thus, beside his suspension for 181 legislative days, Jibrin was required to apologise before his return, and that the House would not give him any position throughout the lifespan of the 8th Assembly.

But he vowed not to apologise to anybody in the House and rushed to court once again to challenge the action. It appears the case is still pending in the court.

Although Jibrin went on to make ‘some noise’ as usual after his suspension, he decided to embark on a self exile in early November, 2016 to the United Kingdom, where he reportedly received an award for being an anti-corruption crusader. He cited threats to his life as reasons for his self exile.

When he eventually returned from the exile mid December, in a very unusual manner, he maintained a suspicious silence for over one week, until when some journalists got wind of his presence in Nigeria and reported it.

When Dogara marked his 49th birthday on December 26, the following day, Jibrin tweeted a happy birthday message on his Twitter handle, @AbdulAbmJ, wishing the speaker long life and prosperity. He stated, “This is to wish Mr Speaker a happy 49th birthday and many prosperous years ahead. Wishing you God’s guidance and blessings.”

This necessitated one of Jibrin’s followers to comment that the lawmaker’s Twitter handle was hacked. But it later emerged that Jibrin was secretly looking for a way to settle with Dogara. He, however, later denied it.

Many are surprised that it is not ordinary for somebody who maintained such very high media presence for about five months to suddenly go silent for about three months.

Jibrin is hardly seen in public places. It was gathered that he now spends most of his time in his Wuse 2 residence and only goes out from time to time, especially on Friday when he goes to a mosque at Wuse 2, to observe the Jumma’at prayer.

Since the beginning of this year, the lawmaker seldom issues press releases and makes tweets on the budget fraud as he used to. Could this be part of his unpublicised New Year resolutions? Or could it be that he has resigned to fate, waiting for about one year to rejoin his colleagues in the House?

In a series of tweets on February 20, 2017, Jibrin deviated from his usual self and advised President Muhammadu Buhari to trust his vice, now Acting President Yemi Osinbajo.

The question on the lips of many Nigerians is: When will Jibrin break his current silence?

Read more at http://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/where-is-abdulmumin-jibrin/187863.html#Lp0LVqKz26cWYV0I.99

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