National Assembly members cannot be investigated or charged to court for performing their constitutional responsibility of lawmaking, including budget, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has declared.
Dogara stated this at the Civil Society Dialogue Session on One Year of the Legislative Agenda organised by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC) in Abuja on Thursday.
The speaker said the 2016 budget had been controversial from the beginning and that it took dialogue, compromise and consensus to produce a workable document.
He said that by virtue of provisions of the Legislative Houses Powers and Privileges Act, no member of parliament could be charged to court or investigated for exercising their powers of lawmaking.
On the powers of the National Assembly over budget, Dogara maintained that the Appropriation Bill was just like any other bill which must be subjected to normal legislative processes and scrutiny.
“The constitution talks about the estimates of revenue and expenditure to be prepared and laid before the National Assembly.
“The constitution did not mention the word budget. And the reason is very simple. Budget is a law.
“Going by very pedestrian understanding of law which even a part one law student can tell is that the functions of government are such that the legislature makes the law, executive implements and the judiciary interprets it.
“The budget being a law, therefore, means it is only the parliament that can make it because it is a law.
“And I challenge all of us members of the media and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to look at our law and tell me where it is written that the president can make a budget.”
The Speaker maintained that by the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, only the National Assembly had powers to scrutinise the revenue and expenditure estimates submitted by Mr President.
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Source:: PM Newspaper