UNDER fire Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has denied knowledge of budget padding, an act he has been accused of by former chairman, House Committee on Appropriation Abdulmumuni Jibrin.
Speaking after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, at the presidential villa, Abuja on Friday, he also said he has no reason to resign from his post as being demanded in some quarters.
A reticent Dogara was asked by State House correspondents about his mission in the villa and the below exchange ensued.
What informed your visit on a Friday
I can’t come and see my President? Do I need any reason to come and see my President. It’s a private visit?
Was the issue of alleged budget padding discussed?
What is budget padding?
The language emanated from your chambers
I don’t know, educate me. I am lawyer and the speaker and I have never heard of the word padding. What does padding mean?
Your former chairman chairman of appropriation is saying you padded the budget?
Ask him. He who alleges must prove. That’s the law in Nigeria
Are you not going to defend yourself?
Am I before a court.
There are people saying you should reconvene the House before September resumption time and step aside for thorough investigations.
We have rules and regulations. This is not a mock institution. We operate by rules and we will follow the rules
Will you resign?
Resign for what, for what?
Over this allegation.
What is the allegation?
That you and some members of the leadership padded the budget.
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, research the law and let me know
Are you worried?
Worried for what? Worried over nothing? Why should I be worried? As far as I am concerned, am not worried over anything.
Will there be sanctions for Jibrin?
I am not the chairman of ethics committee of the House. So, I wouldn’t know and I don’t know what padding means.