The embattled Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, is currently meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Issues relating to recent revelation of alleged budget padding in the lower chamber is expected to be on the agenda of the meeting holding inside the President’s office. Dogara arrived for the meeting at about 2.30pm.
He had earlier joined Buhari to grace the Graduation Ceremony of Course 24 of the National Defence College, Abuja.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the speaker said he was not aware of anything called budget padding and would not resign amid allegations of budget padding against himself and other principaofficers of the House.
Former chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, Abdulmumuni Jibrin, had accused Dogara and other principal officers of the House of padding the 2016 budget to the tune of N40billion. Following the allegations, there had been calls from some Nigerians for the speaker to resign or step aside while investigation is going on.
In the same vein, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a mend fencing mission on Thursday told both parties to sheathe their swords and desist from making further comments. Speaking during the interview with journalists on why he was in the presidential villa, Dogara said: “I can’t come and see my President? Do I need any reason to come and see my President. It’s a private visit.” Asked whether he had discussed the issue of budget padding with the President, the Speaker said: “What is budget padding.”
He continued: “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. Ask him (Jubril) he who alleges must prove, that’s the law in Nigeria. On whether the speaker will defend himself, Dogara replied that he was already before a court of law.
”We have rules and regulations, this is not a mock institution, we operate by rules and we will follow the rules. Resign for what, for what? “What is padding, you haven’t told me, ask Jibrin what is padding? 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,” he stressed.
Whether he was worried, the speaker said: “Worried for what? Worried over nothing, why should I be worried , as far as I am concerned am not worried over anything.” On whether there would be sanctions for Jibrin, Dogara said: “I am not the chairman of ethics committee of the House so I wouldn’t know and I don’t know what padding means.”