Budget Padding: Dogara talks tough, says EFCC, others can’t probe him

Dogara Femii-Recovered

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 functions.

“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 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.

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 Appropriation.

Mr. Jibrin said the speaker masterminded the insertion of fictitious subjects into the budget, an allegation Mr. Dogara denied.


DOWNLOAD THE PREMIUM TIMES MOBILE APP

Now available on

  Premium Times Android mobile applicationPremium Times iOS mobile applicationPremium Times blackberry mobile applicationPremium Times windows mobile application

TEXT AD:WARNING TO MEN: These 3 Foods is Killing Your Erection. Click Here to Know Them...


All rights reserved. This material and any other material on this platform may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, written or distributed in full or in part, without written permission from PREMIUM TIMES.


  • Gwazy

    Mr speaker no one says it’s not within your purview to make laws for good governance. The problem here is did you pad it for constituent use or for personal use. There is a difference here.

    • FEMI A USA

      He should ask from Brazilian former President. Rousseff about tampering with Budget. She is facing Impeachment trial.

  • Chuck

    Arrogance and stupidity . They are bigger than the people that TRUSTED and elected them to better their lives through representation. What a shame. Misplaced trust.

  • Kamalu

    It is now understood that because the constitution granted executive immunity to the President and Governors which majority, past and present uses as cover for looting our national treasury, our national assembly members enacted for themselves an act to provide legislative immunity to cover their own stealing and malfeasance. The guy called Dogara is simply saying that his stealing is covered by immunity and as such the shout of Nigerians to high heavens will be of no consequence ?

    • Debo

      Cool

  • Debo

    Dogara, since u claim judiciary interpret d Constitution. Then let it be investigated by d interpreter. Cheers !

    • Tayo Patriot

      Good comment. He should allow the investigation to be carried out so that the judiciary can Interprete appropriately.

  • Angry Niaja

    So if as he claims he has immunity,mwhy did they try to pass the immunity act at their recent retreat? Thieves, let’s wait and see if your budget padding falls within this so called immunity

  • AFRICANER

    Dogara, which in Ibo means mad dog, is not only eloquent, but 100% right.

    He should be more assertive in protecting the democracy only when he is affected, but when the president massacres 1000 Shiites, Igbos, Benue people, Niger, and so on.

    • Jujubeans

      What Igbo are you speaking? Engligbo? Dog in Igbo is not “Dog” but Nkita. His name is not Nkita Ara is it? think you need to spend some more time back home, my friend.

      • AFRICANER

        His name is in Engligbo, exactly! Not my fault,

  • Dodondawa

    Mr. Speaker, if I understand you correctly, are you saying you and your gang in the House of Representative are privileged to commit fraud against the people of Federal Republic of Nigeria? Nice try but your interpretation may be wrong. You do not have the final say on this matter. Good luck.

  • Adekunle Akindude

    Yes you can be prosecuted Mr Gumbo Speaker You cannot be a law maker and break the law

  • Ben

    Ignorance is our problem in this country. “Budget padding” is not a contravention of any section of our constitution, because, the power of fund appropriation is that of the NASS. So, it’s only Reps members that can raise the issue of betrayal against the speaker and the leadership of the House and impeach him on that ground.

    • new republic

      And illegal insertion by few members is what?

      • Ben

        What was illegally inserted? Check the meaning of appropriation in the dictionary, then come back for a debate from the point of knowledge. If not, you would continue to wallow in ignorance.

        • new republic

          So you know more than the people involved?go and listen to a member of transparent group in the house of rep before you comment.

          • Rosebud

            People do say all sorts of nonsense because of politics you know, and l can assure you that the so-called member, Transperancy group, has been saying a lot of rubbish playing to the gallery. You should do well to pay them no mind. Where are they now? That should tell you what they are all about.

          • sab

            Besides, the transparency group are like the voice of opposition in that House. Recall similar group also exists in Senate. They never accepted anything the other group or leadership does and this is the problem we have. Give any of them leadership of that House today, then tomorrow they will do worse things and still want to force you to believe they have done the best or are doing the ultimate best. There have been so many examples if you really keep abreast with developments in the polity. So, do not be deceived.

    • St

      Comma go back to your room, saying this wen people are hungry and angry, then someone is stealing u are giving support to a criminal my friend cos even if d law says wrong it should be reevaluated and corrections will be made

      • Ben

        Your ignorance is legendary. Re-read your write-up and see if it would make sense to you. However, I didn’t support Dogara in my post but stated an obvious constitutional fact.

        • St

          Ok sorry, that was the reason I made reference to reevaluation of laws but does it mean that when they made input of projects that were not evaluated from their constituencies into the budget without due process which from a layman point of view should be criminal, that they can’t be prosecuted by the law enforcement agent in Nigeria? Cos that’s forgery if the document made available by the GCFR was tampered with( that’s editing)

    • Dan

      The issue is not about the power of the legislature to appropriated. The problem is when few members (so called House leaders) surreptitiously inserted figures for their constituencies without the knowledge and approval of the whole house AFTER passing the budget. This i think is what the generality of people are complaining about. That implies that they did so for personal and selfish reason with the intention to enrich themselves and shortchange the Nigerian people. Simple

      • Rosebud

        “The problem is when few members (so called House leaders) surreptitiously inserted figures for their constituencies without the knowledge and approval of the whole house AFTER passing the budget.”

        A budget is an Appropriation Bill that has been passed into law. In other words, it is a Bill that has been consented to by the president with his signature appended to same. During the process of bringing it to life, several copies are made and distributed. The MDAs, the Presidency and the legislature vet these copies to ensure that they align, to some degree, with the targeted objectives. It is not easy at this stage to tamper with its contents without contributors knowing, the only way it can be tampered with at that stage is if the legislature, the Presidency, MDAs et al conspire between themselves to do so. Where amendments or adjustments are made by the legislature, the bill will be returned to Mr President and studied to ascertain if such adjustments are acceptable. But for the legislature to tamper with a Bill ascented to by the President is an absolute impossibility, unless Mr President conspires to so do with the legislature.

      • sab

        Dan, please did Jibrin raise alarm when he noticed this? Was he not part of the House of Reps that finally voted for the passage of the budget bill before it was presented to Mr President? Were there no Constituency projects inserted in the padded budget for his own constituency? When the budget was sent president for accent was he not aware? As far as our memories can recollect, the budget was signed into law by Mr President about two or three months ago. So why did he have to wait till now before blowing his whistle? Was he not in the know of the padding and its process? In as much as I don’t support evil, I think Jibrin also is an accomplice in this case. That he waited until he was removed from his juicy committee before opening up confirms him as partner in the ‘crime’. And the fact that he opened up does not in any way make him a saint, never!

        • Man_Enough

          for everything there is a season. one thing leads to another.

    • Rosebud

      Thank you. But it must be said that Mr Speaker is not in charge of the Appropriation Act, that duty falls to the Chair, Appropriations Committee and its members. So, you can’t even accuse Mr Speaker without first asking why the Chair, Appropriations allowed Mr Speaker to hijack that process. Secondly, it should be emphasised that ‘padding’ can’t occur without the Presidency and MDAs turning a blind eye to it. Contracts for constituency projects are not awarded by legislators and funds for such projects are not paid directly or indirectly to them. The only way they get to lay their hands on such funds is if they collude with the MDAs and the Presidency to lift some funds for themselves.

  • ijelejames

    Tough talking thief. You can only do this in Nigeria but your days are numbered, robber!

  • new republic

    Presidency backing to kill Nigerian through budget APC party theif oleeee and they blame PDP and until People rise up like Tunisians on the street this will not stop.

    • sab

      Who will rise? Those who mobilize people to rise against government in the past for whatever government does, whether good or bad, are they not the same people presiding over these nonsense today? When some years ago government decided to remove fuel subsidy, someone mobilized you guys to say no, that it was better you ‘occupy Nigeria’. Few years later, the same people, now in power, removed the same fuel subsidy and asked you guys to sing its praises rather than protest. So who will mobilize you now to occupy NASS or Nigeria? This is Nigeria where you can’t just try that on your own or else it will be a rain of bullets, ask IPOB, Shi’ites.

  • Realitytalk

    He should know that Nigeria will decide about his future soon when we are ready, we shall move forward but not with corruption and corrupt individuals.

    • woman leader1

      Reality!
      Corruption must be wiped off.

  • St

    Thief! Theif! Your time dey come, even though you dodge PMB, you nor go dodge d next generation, you will be caught and persecuted not prosecution o. Useless man

    • duwdu

      I don’t think he (Dogara) has successfully dodged PMB just yet.

      Believe me, just as Buhari was (and still is) seen to be smiling with Saraki as if Saraki would not be prosecuted and he’s now being tried, Dogara’s time to be charged for his many alleged crimes – including his deliberate padding of the budget – will happen, too. And it shall be sooner, rather than later. These things take time; after all, Dogara’s bubble began to burst just two/three weeks ago!

      P34c3
      …..

  • Pigfarming

    Hi folks. My name is Michael and I am a pig farmer. I started pig farming last year, 2015 with only 5 piglets. Today, I have 72 pigs weighing above 75kg each. 3 are pregnant. Now, do the Mathematics, if each pig at 90kg is sold at N28k, how much will 50 pigs, 100, 150, 200 pigs, etc be sold? That’s what I am talking about. The buyers are many, but the sellers can’t even meet their daily demands. You CAN make over N5Million within 9 months in this business and you will be given FREE professional advice as a starter. SMS “PIGFARMING” to 33811 for a more detailed info. SMS costs N50.

  • Sanssouci

    It is evident nothing will come out of this, the public outrage is simply because we naively hoped there was a real change in the NASS, but now we know better. Legally Dogara you are covered, it’s your conscience you should worry about, after all if a serving General and COAS can own million dollar properties abroad inconsistent with his legitimate earnings ditto serving minister of interior and yet nothing happened how can you be worried in this your very “gray” and at best questionable matter?

  • emmanuel anizoba

    Mr Dogara must not insult the intelligence of Nigerians with his mental backwardness and roguish predisposition. What sort of lawyer is he to spew such inanities attributed to him in this post? He starts by positing that “budget is a law” and that “only the parliament can make it, because it is a law.” Okay Mr wiseacre, why not walk your talk and prepare the estimates of revenue and expenditure which form an integral part of the budget-making? And he goes on to assert that “Going by very pedestrian understanding of law …. the legislature makes the law, the executive implements and the judiciary interpretes the law.” Okay, again, Mr half-clever; go ahead, cook your law-budget, and then send it to your banana republic executive for implementation. Where is Prof Itse Sagay’s committee to call Mr Dogara back to civilization, because Mr Dogara’s Nigeria is an epitome of BANANA REPUBLICS. Cheers!

  • IZ

    Shame on you, Mr. Budget Padding is not Ann of fence.

  • variable

    Dogara the scumbag is emblematic of the sick value system in Nigeria,
    where a N1000 thief is stoned to death while ‘scum’ like Dogara is
    venerated. Sadly we as Nigerians brought (and continue to bring) this
    malais on ourselves. Why in the name of all that is good would a sane
    person do ‘ranka dede’ for a thief, which is what we do and which these
    pond-lives in the various assemblies (senate and house of reps at every
    level of the republic) have become accustomed to.

    They fully
    expect some noise to be generated and then subsequently to die down for a
    number of reasons: one – they all are scum and therefore cannot
    truthfully challenge one another. two – they believe in their demonic
    powers to bring confusion and make the populace forget. three – they
    genuinely do not have a conscience (consider the list of abonimation
    they need to commit to make their alelgiance to the devil and you will
    understand). four – they have little intelligence and even less pride.
    five – they are fantastically arrogant.

    Again, in case you are
    reading this….Dogara you and the rest of the assemblies are scum.
    Nigeria ought seriously to consider what purpose you serve when next it
    reviews its constitution.

  • FreeNigeria

    Hear the thief we have in NASS, the head thief, Section 30 of the constitution gives you power to be a thief and unrepentant rogue. Now we see why Nigeria is heading backward while the rest of the world are running forward, we have vagabonds running this country. This man needs to be dragged in the street and whipped like an animal that he is.

    • duwdu

      Well said, FreeNigeria.

      P34c3
      …..

  • Aloy Kris

    In as much as I don’t like what our legislathieves are doing and the whole brouhaha about budget padding, Dogara is right after all, and this calls to question the kind of laws we have in place… I remember Bank-Ole had a similar case when he fell out with GEJ. While we made all the noise, the courts discharged and acquitted him based on the laws of the land.
    Therefore the earlier we amended our laws the better for us, else we’ll be doomed in this vicious cycle!!

    • Rosebud

      Okay, but who’s going to amend the law? Isn’t it the same legislators? Catch 22.

  • woman leader1

    Say NO to corruption, Nigeria will always stand…

    • musa aliyu

      Please go to occuynass2 site and register. We shall all meet there.

    • Olatubosun

      Yes o
      We say no to corruption

      • woman leader1

        Gbam

  • Jacky

    The very ugly Dogara is oozing nonsense from his mouth. No section of the constitution accords him “blanket immunity” from criminal investigations…not the Governors, not even the President of the Federal Republic. He tries to turn sect.30 (Powers & Privileges) of the constitution on its head. But I don’t blame Dogara, I blame President Buhari who seems to be losing both steam and the initial signs of vigor he showed. I have a bad vibe in me that President Buhari is showing some signs of crack and fatigue. It seems the evil entity in Nigeria have eventually overpowered and totally overwhelmed him. Or, has our own dear President Buhari been cornered into (no disrespect meant) confusion and submission? Whichever way, I realize we are in a deep mess…unless President Buhari starts being mean with those evil men who are nothing but enemies of Nigeria. I am losing fate, and quickly too!

  • ijelejames

    Dogara, Dogara, you are very invincible in your thinking but a lot of your countrymen are liviving in poverty. Time will tell.

  • Sunny

    Mr. Dogara, you are a disgrace to Nigeria with the statement coming out of you after the allegation of budget padding. Really, it’s only in Nigeria that such atrocity could happen and the perpetrators will still have the effrontery to speak in the public. Shame on the corrupt politicians and their cohorts that are robbing Nigerians of their commonwealth.

  • musa aliyu

    Dogara, a beg, go and face the law. No dogoturanci.

  • SAM .A

    Oyinbo that made pencil also made eraser , Dagorat , remember do not have immunity , your days as speaker are numbered . Obj formula is hanging over your head , Barawo.

  • Karl Imom

    There is NO constitutional immunity for any lawmakers including the Budget Padding Speaker Dogara. Mr. Dogara may be reading the Nigerian Constitution upside-down or he may simply have a comprehension problem.

  • Okokondem

    I’m not going to sit here and try to pontificate to no avail. Everything that can be written or said has, and at the end of the day Nigerians will be responsible for their destinies. 180 million people will either choose to reclaim their country or remain subjugated. Imagine this Dogara labeling every Nigerian who dares question his handling of our money ignorant because according to him, they as members of the legislature have crafted laws that entitles them to embezzlement and pilfering. And then he gets away with it. What a country, what a people.

  • Okokondem

    I have just finished reading about the Nigerian soccer contingent in the Olympics and the harrowing experience they have had including being stranded in Atlanta during training before heading to Reo. As it is, they are threatening to abandon tomorrow’s game because the Nigerian government has not or is not going to pay them their allowances. Meanwhile, “Hon” Dogara thinks Nigerians are ignorant. What a country.

  • Okokondem

    Just curious…has Mr president taken a position on this controversy, or allegations by Jibrin and what might that position be, anyone. Or is this another case of padding is not corruption just as stealing was ruled out as corruption by the previous president?

    • Jon

      Yes, stealing is not corruption. Let me educate you.
      1. Corruption refers to “quid pro quo.” Quid pro quo means “this for that.” For examples, a passport officer receives bribe to process a passport for a client. The passport officer receives cash or non-cash asset while his client receives a passport.
      2. Stealing refers to when Mr. A dispossess Mr. B of his property without Mr. B getting nothing in return. This is stealing and not corruption.
      In case of those individuals inserting illegal funds into the budget for their personal use, that is stealing because Nigerian citizens or the constituencies are not getting anything in return. This is stealing and NOT corruption. They are thieves.
      As for President Jonathan, he was right when he said that Stealing is NOT corruption.

      • serubawon70

        Point of correction sir: corruption means doing something that is dishonest or illegal to gain money or power. Period.

  • Sincere-Voice

    Dogara is saying things that those that he is representing don’t understand. He’s defending himself against those that voted for him. To him, padding is no corruption but to the Nigerian populace, padding is big corruption in high places.

  • Olatubosun

    Dogara is senseless
    You are a criminal
    You still have mouth to tslk

  • Olatubosun

    We say no to corruption and give room for better economy