I Am Privileged, I Cannot Be Prosecuted – Speaker Dogara Brags
The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday said those calling for his prosecution for his involvement in the alleged padding of the 2016 budget were doing so out of sheer ignorance.
Dogara said no member of the national assembly can be investigated or charged to court for performing the constitutional responsibility of lawmaking, including budget scrutiny.
Speaking on Thursday during a dialogue session with civil society groups in Abuja, Dogara said the 2016 budget had been controversial from the beginning, but it took dialogue, “compromise and consensus” to produce a workable document.
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.
“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.”