The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) said it was rejecting the move by the House of Representatives to probe Hon Abdulmumi Jibrin over his efforts at exposing budget fraud in the House. In a statement signed by its secretary-general, Chief Willy Ezugwu, the CNPP reiterated its call for independent investigation into the allegations raised by Jibrin against Speaker Yakubu Dogara “rather than engaging in the persecution of the whistleblower.”
Jibrin Jibrin had also refused to honour the ethics and privileges committee of the House probing him for misconduct as allegedly directed by Dogara, who, with some other principal officers, was fingered in the alleged padding of the 2016 budget. He also wrote a letter to Dogara asking the latter to search his conscience and know if he had not offended Nigerians by his alleged corrupt acts.
The lawmaker was also earlier supported by Femi Falana, a rights activist and senior lawyer. CNPP said Jibrin’s probe by the House committee on ethics and privileges as “a witch hunt and harassment of whistleblowers to the detriment of the ongoing war against corruption by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“The CNPP insists that the speaker and the fingered principal officers of the House must step aside until they are properly investigated as they cannot be the judge in their own case and yet lay claim to equity. “For us, the probe of Hon Jibrin by ethics and privileges committee of the House, with an obvious predetermined script to suspend him, is nothing but a blackmail by the hunted hunting the hunter in a bid to cover up a gross allegation made by the lawmaker. “How can the war against corruption succeed when the principal leadership of the House of Representatives noticeably pays lip service to the anti-corruption drive by the Buhari government? “Rather than embark on the probe, the House would have compelled the speaker and the principal officers named by Hon Jibrin to submit themselves to an independent probe panel comprising of relevant security agencies and if cleared, they can sanction the lawmaker for false allegation. Is this not what is most reasonable to do by the House?
“What is it that the speaker and the principal officers are afraid of? Why are they quick to probe the allegation by some members who claimed their reputation has been damaged by Hon Jibrin’s allegations, when the allegations have not been investigated and found to be untrue? What is it that the Speaker and his co-accused are struggling to hide from Nigerians? “We, therefore, call on the speaker to immediately disband his probe committee and submit themselves first to an independent investigative panel for open probe of the allegations against them. It is only then can any probe of Hon. Jibrin may be acceptable to well meaning Nigerians”.
“If the House is truly concerned about its image, clearing the abuse of office and budget fraud allegation against its Speaker and other principal leaders should be more troubling to them at this time,” the CNPP said.