Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, this evening released a statement reacting to claims that he said he was above the law regarding the allegation of budget padding leveled against him and 13 other lawmakers by sacked chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin.
“Hello, everyone. I wish to speak regarding the current budget saga and the allegations levelled against me. I had initially chosen to remain silent, but as an elected representative who values you all, I will speak because communication is key.
I would like to state for the record that my views have been grossly misrepresented in recent publications in some sections of the media. The first was at the State House when I asserted that nothing undertaken by the legislature in the course of the budget process could be .alluded to either as “padding” or as an infraction of any law in our great country. In the second instance, while responding to questions at the Civil Society Dialogue on Thursday, I made reference to sections 3, 24 and 30 ..of the Legislative Houses (Powers and Privileges) Act to buttress the point that the legislature, while carrying out constitutional responsibilities, is protected by law. I did not say or mean that I am above the law or that I am shielded by the law, or that I have immunity for any infractions on the law. I am not above the law, and I would never imply that I cannot be investigated by security agencies or tried by our courts. As an officer in the Temple of Justice, I owe unalloyed allegiance to the Judiciary and to all instutions of law enforcement. I swore an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and would defend this with all of my heart. I wish to reiterate that no Kobo belonging to Nigerians has been misappropriated, stolen or lost in this budget saga. I wish to state clearly that there was no act of corruption by me during and/or after the preparation of the 2016 budget. I also hereby call on all Nigerians to be vigilant with respect to the execution of the 2016 budget. I further wish to deny any and all other allegations of a personal nature against me. They are fictional and scandalous untruths. I wish to appeal to the Nigerian public for patience as the truth which will vindicate the innocent in this saga will unfold soon. I also wish to thank you all for the messages of support and encouragement, and may God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. All other false allegations of a personal nature will be dealt with at the appropriate fora and time.