Budget Padding Scandal Reps back Dogara, say legislature can insert projects

Egoh insisted that Dogara had not done anyting wrong for anybody to cast aspersions on his person.

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Yakubu Dogara play

Yakubu Dogara

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Two members of the House of Representatives, have expressed support for the embattled Speaker and other principal officers of the house in the allegations of budget padding levelled against them by Rep. Abdulmumin Jibrin.

They insisted that the speaker and the other accused principal officers have not committed any offence to warrant calls for them to resign.

Rep. Aminu Suleiman (APC-Kano), Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education, said that there was no basis for the Speaker to resign.

Suleiman told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that neither Dogara nor the house committed any offence by virtue of legislative duties performed with regard to the 2016 budget as attested to by the Presidency.]

He said: " am happy that the Presidency has said that the budget was not padded.

"But then there are people who have perpetual disdain for the National Assembly, who celebrate crisis, who pray for crisis and use it to cast aspersions on lawmakers.

"We are empowered to decide what goes where in the budget; which is why the executive brings the document to us as an estimate of expenditure.

"It's in our place as National Assembly to deal with the budget, determine what should be where and return it to the President.

"If he (President) disagrees with us and we know that what we have done is right, the law also gives us the power to override his veto after 30 days.’’

Suleiman however noted that if some officials in the executive insert some figures in the budget during transmiision to the President after it had been passed by lawmakers, one could say it had been padded.

The chairman criticized the call for Dogara to resign, describing it as unrealistic.

"Everybody has a right to call for anything, but whether the call is realistic or not is up to them to prove why they are asking the Speaker to go.

Also speaking, Rep. Oghene Egoh (PDP-Lagos), noted that if the Legislature could not remove or add in the process of appropriation, there would be no basis for the President to submit the budget to it.

"One thing that has surprised me is that a lot of people who are educated, journalists, lawyers and the rest don't seem to understand the functions of the legislature.

"Padding is part of legislative process; it is through padding one can satisfy his or her constituents.

"Even the executive does padding. If not, how do you think the President is able to get allocation for the road that leads to his area?"

Egoh insisted that Dogara had not done anything wrong for anybody to cast aspersions on his person.

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