Speaker Yakubu Dogara of the House of Representatives appears to have modified his stance on the propriety of the alleged padding in this year’s budget in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly.
Dogara spoke yesterday through his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan.
Hassan in a statement in Abuja said that his principal’s correct position on the issue is that padding is a strange phenomenon to the budget and nothing untoward was done by the House and indeed the National Assembly with respect to the 2016 budget.
For the umpteenth time, he dismissed all the allegations of budget padding levied at him by the former Appropriation committee Chairman, Abdulmumin Jibrin as fictional.
“The law is there. Both communications, whatever it is, they are privileged. That is in order to give independence to the legislature. If the legislature is not independent we can’t do anything.
“If whatever you say on the floor or before a committee or whatever you communicate is subject of litigation then all the members will be in court and at the end of the day when debate come you cannot even air your views.”
Speaker Yakubu Dogara who was invited by the police for interrogation claim no body can investigate him or prosecute any parliamentarian have makes U-turn, says ‘I am not above the law’
Read his statement below…
“By this, the Speaker clearly asserted that nothing undertaken by the legislature in the ordinary course of the budget process could be alluded to either as padding or an infraction of any law.
“Unfortunately the media reported him as saying that ‘padding’ was not a crime. This tended to insinuate that the Speaker admitted there was budget padding but that this did not constitute a crime.
“There could be nothing farther from the truth. The Speaker’s assertion was and remains that nothing untoward had been done by the House and indeed the National Assembly with respect to the 2016 budget.
“In the second instance, while responding to questions at the Civil Society Dialogue at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja on Thursday 12th August, Hon Dogara made reference to Sections 3, 24 and 30 of the Legislative Houses ( Powers and Privileges ) Act to buttress the point that the legislature while carrying out its constitutional responsibilities is protected by law.
“He did not say or mean that he is above the laws of the land or that he is shielded by the law or has immunity for any infractions of the law.
“This clear restatement of the law has been twisted by sections of the media to mean that neither security agencies nor the courts could investigate or prosecute or try him!
“This is most uncharitable and a deliberate and calculated attempt to pitch the Speaker against the Nigerian public and paint him as lawless.
“As an Officer in the Temple of Justice, Dogara not only owes unalloyed allegiance to the Judiciary but also to the institutions of law enforcement. He indeed swore to an Oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Dogara should not be portrayed as insensitive or arrogant as this is contrary to his true nature of humility and humaneness that has endeared him to his colleagues and Nigerians.
“Indeed, Dogara had initially adopted silence as his response, but having observed the grievous damage Jibrin’s extensive misrepresentations and lies was inflicting on the country and distracting our common and urgent resolve to tackle our distressed economy and security challenges, he opted to offer some explanations on the issues as continuous silence may have amounted to insensitivity, admission or arrogance.
“Mr. Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, wishes to reiterate and assure all Nigerians that no kobo belonging to Nigerians has been misappropriated, stolen or lost in this budget saga.
“There was no act of corruption by him during and after the preparation of the 2016 budget. Mr. Speaker urges all Nigerians to be vigilant with respect to execution of 2016 budget to ensure that Nigerians are not shortchanged.
“Mr. Speaker Yakubu Dogara further wishes to deny all other allegations of a personal nature heaped on him by Jibrin as they are fictional and scandalous untruths and falsehoods which will be dealt with at the appropriate fora and time.
“We wish to appeal to the public for patience as the truth which will vindicate the innocent in this unfortunate saga will unfold sooner than later”. “he said”.