President Muhammadu Buhari; Yakubu Dogara, Speaker of the House of Representatives; MP Abdulmumini Jibrin; All Progressives Congress (APC) – the governing party.
What, Where & When
On 28 September, Nigeria's House of Representatives resolved to suspend MP Abdulmumini Jibrin for 180 days and indefinitely blacklist him from future leadership positions. At the heart of this dispute are allegations of corruption surrounding the 2016 budget, particularly 'constituency projects'. However, the development is indicative of a) fault lines tearing at ruling APC cohesion, b) dynamics retarding the legislative process c) enduring corruption risk, and d) sensitivities around bringing such concerns to light.
- Constituency Projects: Every year each MP nominates projects they'd like the government to finance in the MP's constituency. A project could be to build a new school or set up a healthcare program. The nominations are looked at by a parliamentary committee and the approved ones are included in the government's budget for the year before it's passed.
- MP Abdulmumini Jibrin: The Kiru/Bebeji (Kano state) constituency MP Jibrin was chairman of a parliamentary committee looking into budget allocations for constituency projects from October 2015 until Speaker Yakubu Dogara removed him in June 2016. At the time there was controversy about why he was removed, with some reports from parliament saying he played an inappropriate role in the disputes that ultimately delayed the passage of the 2016 budget bill—four months after President Buhari first submitted it to parliament.
- Claims and Counterclaims: Jibrin has since made several claims accusing Dogara and others of attempting to illegally assign for themselves huge sums for constituency projects under his watch as appropriation committee chair.
After Jibrin's claims were publicised in the media, Dogara set up another committee in mid-September to probe the claims and determine parliament's action on the issue. The committee invited Jibrin to a public hearing but he didn't show up, and so the suspension was recommended. He's also required to write a letter of apology to the House before he's readmitted.
This controversy undermined the parliament's cooperation before the MPs went on recess in July, and it will remain a distraction even now that Jibrin is suspended considering he's challenging his suspension in court. The MP has defiantly been speaking out against the parliament leadership despite receiving a caution from his party APC (which is also the governing party and that of the speaker). Passage of bills in the House will likely be affected by this controversy, and our political risk rating remains high.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.