Why House won’t recall Jibrin — Rep OssaiHeadlines, House, Legislature Tuesday, November 8th, 2016
By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Mr. Ossai Ossai is the Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges. In this interview, he speaks on his leadership of the probe panel that recommended the suspension of the former House Committee Chairman on Appropriations, Mr. Abdulmunin Jibrin among other issues. Some Nigerians strongly believe that your committee did a hatchet man’s job in its investigation of Jubrin. Can you tell us what happened? My committee did a very good job in line with the rules of the House. As a committee, we were not representing anybody but the National Assembly. And the committee has done a good job that hasn’t been faulted in the media. Ossai: As of now, Jibrin is not a member I have seen people in the United States of America, who congratulated us for a job well done. When you look at the foundation upon which we made our recommendations, you will discover that it is in line with the known rules, it is in line with the laws of the land.We have not deviated from the laws of the land. Why did the committee suspend Jibrin beyond one year when no member had served more than six months suspension in the past? The law never said one year or less, it said you can suspend based on legislative days.
The law took cognizance of legislative days. When my committee was looking at the issues, we looked at legislative days, and it was based on legislative days that we made our recommendations. Probably, people were making recommendations because the House of Reps did not pass a code of conduct in the Seventh Assembly. Actions and utterances But in this Eight Assembly, we have a code of conduct, and that code of conduct guides our actions and utterances. And it was based on that code of conduct that the committee made its recommendation. Given the number of days recommended, is it safe to say that Jibrin’s refusal to appear before the committee also played a part in the decision you arrived at? When you write to a committee that you are not appearing, that in itself is a defence.He was given all the opportunities to come and defend himself on issues that have been raised via a motion and he declined. Can Jibrin be recalled if he decides to show remorse? That decision is left for the House to make. And Jibrin knows probably the steps he has to take with members.
That is no longer the responsibility of my committee but that of the House. And recently, I saw the analysis Channels Television did on the issues regarding the invitation of its staff to appear before us. When Channels was openly invited, it recognised Akingboloye as one of its staff. So if such things were done and Akingboloye anchored a particular programme and Jibrin was there, it is baffling for Channels to say that the interview was not granted by Jibrin. It is very unfortunate. I don’t think we deviated from the ethics which we represent, and I believe that the news media should be able to abide by their own rules and ethics when reporting. Jibrin also said that members are known to convert running cost to their private use, and in his supposed list which he claimed to have submitted to security agencies, your name was mentioned as one of those who was using running cost allowances for private purposes. How do you respond to this? I don’t think I will join issues with somebody who has been suspended. Probably, when he resumes and raises that issue, I would be able to address that. He is a suspended member. Right now, he is not a member of the House.
But when he resumes and raises that issue on the floor, I will know that a member with all his privileges has raised an issue worth responding to, but as of now, he is not a member. Jibrin had gone to court on the ground that there was a pending suit for determination which precluded your committee recommendations from being implemented. Did your committee at any time get any notice to that effect via the leadership of the House? I have addressed this issue many times. I’ve always said that the committee did not at any time receive any notice of a suit. Not before its assignment, during or after it. I think we did our work knowing that there were no obstacles. Does the fact that Jibrin was suspended remove the distrust Nigerians have about the House? There is no credibility burden hanging on the leadership of the House. Opportunities were given to Jibrin to come and prove his innocence if he were but he declined. It showed that what he had been telling Nigerians was disnformation. And the National Assembly has risen on many occasions to address issues that affect Nigerians. I think they should be praised and celebrated.
Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/11/why-house-wont-recall-jibrin-rep-ossai/
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