Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday said those who called for his prosecution over his alleged involvement in the fraudulent manipulation of the 2016 budget did so out of sheer ignorance.
Mr Dogara said the laws governing the National Assembly grant all lawmakers a wide degree of immunity from prosecution based on the exercise of their legislative functions.
“It doesn't even make sense and they have forgotten Section 30 of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act and others,” which states that “most of the things we do in the National Assembly are privileged,” said Mr. Dogara. .
“They cannot be grounds for any inquiry into the proceedings or proceeding against any Member of Parliament, nor the Speaker, nor the President of the Senate, once carried out in the exercise of their own functions.”
“The Constitution speaks of the estimates of revenue and expenditure that must be prepared and submitted to the National Assembly. The constitution did not mention the word budget. And the reason is very simple. Budget is a law.
“If we start from a very superficial understanding of law, part of which even a law student can relate, is that the functions of government are such that the legislature makes the law, the executive executes it and the judiciary makes the law interprets,” said Mr Dogara.
“Because the budget is a law, it means that only Parliament can make it because it is a law. And I challenge all members of the media and civil society organizations to look at our law and tell me where it is written that the President can make a budget,” Mr Dogara said.