Despite the allegations of having a hand in padding the 2016 budget, the Speaker of House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has said padding is not an offence hence, he won’t resign.
Former Chairman House Committee Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin had alleged that the Speaker and three other principal officers of the House was in the know of the 2016 budget being padded.
He had alleged that chairmen of 10 committees injected, 2,000 fictitious projects worth N248 billion into the budget. Jibin himself was accused of allocating 20 projects worth N4.3 billion to his constituency.
Projects worth N40 billion were also alleged to have been allocated to the Committee on Appropriation under Jibrin’s watch.
Dogora who met with President Muhammadu Buhari shortly after the Ju’mat prayers at the President Villa for about 30 minutes when cornered by State House correspondents to comment on the padding scandal, kept using questions with another question.
The Speaker, who arrived the Villa at 2.30pm, described his meeting with President Buhari as private.
Dogara who said as a trained lawyer and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, he has never heard of the word padding, urged journalists to educate him or asked Jibrin who is behind the allegation.
When asked if he would yield to pressure and reconvene the House before September said, the rules will be followed.
The following conversation transpired between Dogora and the newsmen:
Newsmen: What informed your visit on a Friday
Dogara: Can’t I come and see my President? Do I need any reason to come and see my President? It’s a private visit.
Newsmen: Was the issue of alleged budget padding discussed?
Dogara: What is budget padding?
Newsmen: The language emanated from your chambers?
Dogara: I don’t know, educate me, I am a lawyer and the Speaker and I have never heard of the word padding, what does padding mean?
Newsmen: Your former chairman on Appropriations is saying you padded the budget?
Dogara: Ask him, he who alleges must prove, that’s the law in Nigeria.
Newsmen: Are you not going to defend yourself?
Dogara: Am I before a court?
Newsmen: There are people saying you should reconvene the House before September resumption time and step aside for thorough investigations?
Dogara: We have rules and regulations, this is not a mock institution, we operate by rules and we will follow the rules.
Newsmen: Will you resign?
Dogara: Resign for what, for what?
Newsmen: On this allegation?
Dogara: What is the allegation?
Newsmen: That you and some members of the leadership padded the budget?
Dogara: What is padding, you haven’t told me, ask Jibrin what is padding? For me I studied law and I have been in the legislature and all this period I have never heard of the word padding being an offence under any law, if I don’t know, you are the media, research the law and let me know
Newsmen: Are you worried?
Dogara: Worried for what? Worried over nothing, why should I be worried, as far as I am concerned, am not worried over anything.
Newsmen: Will there be sanctions for Jibrin?
Dogara: I am not the chairman of Ethics Committee of the House so I wouldn’t know and I don’t know what padding means.