- Dogara says he is ready for probing by anti-graft agencies
- Speaker is alleged to be involved in corrupt practices in the name of budget padding
- Recent statements are different from what Speaker had earlier said
The Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, on Saturday, August 13 rescinded on his statements that legislators could not be investigated for carrying out their legislative duties, in an unclear way to shield himself from the fallout of his claim based on the public outcry over the budget padding scandal.
“As an Officer in the Temple of Justice, Dogara not only owes unalloyed allegiance to the judiciary but also to the institutions of law enforcement,” the speaker revealed in a statement signed by his media aide, Turaki Hassan, adding that: “He indeed swore to an Oath of Allegiance to the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
READ ALSO: Padding: Dogara will face the music if guilty - Presidency
Dogara’s change of comments shows the effect of the scandal, which has remained in the media since it first broke about three weeks ago, has had on his political life.
The Speaker has made joint efforts to dismiss the allegations he fraudulently changed the 2016 budget to the tune of N40 billion, saying those leading the calls for his prosecution are not knowledgeable.
“Recent efforts seeking to discredit the document are a consequence of inadequate knowledge of the legal framework governing appropriation in a presidential democracy,” the Speaker stated at a forum Thursday, August 11.
The comments and others alike he made before, earned him public bashing from from all and sundry, with many saying his hardened heart was a sign he has something to hide.
However, in a recent statement,the Speaker tried to protect the rights of lawmakers while also reassuring the public that they are within the ambits of the law.
The Speaker stated: “Dogara should not be portrayed as insensitive or arrogant as this is contrary to his true nature of humility and humaneness that has endeared him to his colleagues and Nigerians.”
READ ALSO: Padding scandal: Dogara, others to be tried - AGF
The disclaimer showed a conspicuous difference from the earlier public statements by Dogara on the demands for a thorough investigation into the padding scandal, which he often waved away.
“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,” the Speaker stated while addressing the audience at an event that was put together by the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre.
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 Speaker’s stance has continued to change as the scandal evolved from what first appeared like a daily misunderstanding among lawmakers into a full-blown national disgrace, thereby generating persistent calls for his resignation from daily by Nigerians and social crusade groups.
The Speaker on Saturday, August 13 on his Twitter page wrote that he “had initially chosen to remain silent,” about the allegations, which came largely from Kano lawmaker, Abdulmumin Jibrin, but now speaking to Nigerians because he had suddenly realised that “communication is key.”
In a news report on Sunday, August 14, Dogara re-affirmed that no fund was misappropriated, stolen or missing in the 2016 budget.