Budget padding: I won’t resign – Dogara

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By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, on Friday, declared that he would not resign.
He was reacting to calls for his resignation by some of his colleagues in the lower legislative chamber following the raging controversy over alleged padding of the 2016 budget.
Dogara in an interview by State House correspondents after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said the calls were baseless.
The former House Committee Chairman on Appropriation, Hon Jibrin Abdulmumin had indicted Dogara, three other presiding officers and some members in the House in the budget padding saga.
He said he didint understand what padding means, suggesting that the term was only known by Jibrin and his co-travelers.
Excerpts from the interview:
Correspondents: What informed your visit on a Friday?
Dogara: I can’t come and see my President? Do I need any reason to come and see my President. It’s a private visit.
Correspondents: Was the issue of alleged budget padding discussed?
Dogara: What is budget padding?
Correspondents: 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?
Correspondents: Your former Chairman of Appropriations Committee, Hon Jibrin, is saying you padded the budget?
Dogara: Ask him, he who alleges must prove, that’s the law in Nigeria.
Correspondents: Are you not going to defend yourself?
Dogara: Am I before a court?
Correspondents: 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.
Correspondents: Will you resign?
Dogara: Resign for what? For what?
Correspondents: On this allegation.
Dogara: What is the allegation?
Correspondents: 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, you research the law and let me know.
Correspondents: 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
Correspondents: 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.

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