Dogara Talks Tough; says "EFCC, Others Can’t Probe Me"

Speaker of the House of Reps, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday said those calling for his prosecution for his alleged involvement in the manipulation of the 2016 budget are doing so out of sheer ignorance.

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 functions.

Insisting that he's not guilty, Dogara said, “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.”

“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 functions.”

“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.

Dogara’s gave his position 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.

Dogara said the 2016 Budget was not 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.”