The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, on
Thursday said those calling for his prosecution
for his alleged involvement in the fraudulent
manipulation of the 2016 budget were doing so
out of sheer ignorance.
Mr. Dogara said the laws governing the
National Assembly accorded all lawmakers a
great degree of immunity from prosecution on
the basis of exercising their legislative
"It doesn't even make sense and they have
forgotten about Section 30 of the Legislative
Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act, and
others" which says "most of the things we do in
the National Assembly are privileged," Mr.
Dogara said.
"They cannot be grounds for any investigation
on the procedure or proceedings to commence
against a member of parliament, either the
Speaker or the President of the Senate, once
they are done in the exercise of their proper
"The Constitution talks about the estimates of
revenue and expenditure to be prepared and
laid before the National Assembly. The
constitution did not mention the word budget.
And the reason is very simple. Budget is a law.
"Going by very pedestrian understanding of law
which even a part one law student can tell is
that the functions of government is such that
the legislature makes the law, executive
implements and the judiciary interprets the
law," Mr. Dogara said.
"The budget being a law, therefore, means it is
only the parliament that can make it because it
is a law. And I challenge all of us members the
media and civil society organisations to look at
our law and tell me where it is written that the
president can make a budget," Mr. Dogara said.
Mr. Dogara's comments came while accounting
for his one-year in office at a forum organised
by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre, a public
policy think-tank, in Abuja.
Mr. Dogara, who has faced growing calls for
him to resign from office following allegations of
budget fraud, said ignorance of legislative
duties on the part of some citizens was to
blame for the outrage against lawmakers' role
in the 2016 budget.
He said that the National Assembly would now
embark on a massive sensitisation of the public
about the duties of the legislature in a
constitutional republic.
"Recent efforts seeking to discredit the
document are a consequence of inadequate
knowledge of the legal framework governing
appropriation in a presidential democracy.
"This has, nonetheless, opened a new vista of
duty for us as a legislature to enhance both
internal competences of Members as well as
the sensitisation of the public on the role of the
legislature in a presidential democracy," Mr.
Dogara said.
Mr. Dogara said the 2016 Appropriation Bill was
not entirely perfect in the form it was forwarded
to the legislature by the executive, saying
lawmakers carried out extensive work on the
document to make it acceptable.
"The 2016 budget was controversial from the
onset but the House handled the controversy
with maturity, employing the democratic tools
of dialogue, compromise and consensus by
which an implementable 2016 Budget was
passed and assented to."
For three weeks running, Mr. Dogara had been
locked in fierce political and media war with
Abdulmumin Jibrin, a Kano lawmaker who was
removed as chairman of House Committee on
Mr. Jibrin said the speaker masterminded the
insertion of fictitious subjects into the budget,
an allegation Mr. Dogara denied.


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