Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, and the embattled speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, on Friday, August 5, 2016 met behind closed doors.
Dogara is currently in the eye of the storm following allegations by a former chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumin Jibrin, that he (Dogara), and 12 other House members, padded the 2016 Budget.
The Speaker was accompanied to the meeting which was held inside the president’s office by the senior special assistant to the president on National Assembly Matters (House of Representatives), Suleiman Kawu.
At the end of the meeting, which lasted less than 30 minutes, Dogara told State House correspondents that he would not resign to pave way for thorough investigation of the allegations as being canvassed by some individuals and groups.
He said with his experience as a lawyer and a federal lawmaker of many years, he has never heard padding as being an offence under the law.
“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?” Dogara said.
“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.
“Ask him(Jibrin). He who alleges must prove; that is the law in Nigeria.”
He also ruled out the possibility of reconvening the House before the September scheduled resumption time over the matter, saying the House of Representatives is not a mock institution.
“We have rules and regulations. This is not a mock institution, we operate by rules and we will follow the rules.” He said.
When asked whether he is not worried by the allegations leveled against him, Dogara said, “worried for what? Worried over nothing? Why should I be worried? As far as I am concerned, I am not worried over anything.”
“I am not the chairman of Ethics Committee of the House so I wouldn’t know and I don’t know what padding means,” the speaker said, when he was asked whether the House will sanction Jibrin.
When asked what informed his visit to the president, he said: “You mean I can’t come and see my President? Do I need any reason to come and see my President. It was a private visit.”