peaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Thursday, gave reasons why he failed to surrender himself to be interrogated by the Police Special Investigating Panel over alleged padding of the 2016 budget. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara after inauguration, yesterday. Photos: Olugbemiga Olamikan/ Dogara, who spoke at an interactive session with Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, in Abuja, on one-year review of the 8th House of Representatives Legislative Agenda, said he enjoys statutory protection under the Legislative Houses Powers & Privileges Act.
The event was organized by the Policy &Legal Advocacy Center, PLAC, in collaboration with the House of Representatives. While responding to questions, the Speaker, maintained that no one or agency has the powers to pry into activities of the House, saying “most of the things we do in the National Assembly are privileged”. According to him, legislative business of the House, “cannot be grounds for any investigation or any procedure or proceeding to be commenced in court against a member of parliament, either the Speaker or even the Senate President, once they are done in exercise of their proper function. “The law is there. Both communications, whatever it is, they are privileged. That is in order to give independence to the legislature. If the legislature is not independent we can’t do anything. If whatever you say on the floor or before a committee or whatever you communicate is subject of litigation then all the members will be in court and at the end of the day when debate come you cannot even air your views”. However, Dogara took time to narrate his own side of the story, stressing that the House of Reps under him, had the powers to tinker with the budget proposal that was sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari.
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