The speaker said the legislature will not be intimidated by those seeking to put “our democracy in a recession.”
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the public hearing on the 2017 budget on Monday, Dogara said, “No legislature worth its salt, such as ours, will ever abdicate this onerous constitutional responsibility no matter the degree of intimidation and blackmail the legislature is subjected to by persons who want to cow the legislature and brazenly put our democracy in a recession.
“The legislature, which is the most immediate representative of our people, must and will always exercise its powers for the general good.
“It’s always baffling to listen to some self acclaimed pundits who are apparently ignorant about the workings of our constitutional order, argue that the legislature cannot touch the estimates of the revenues and expenditure of the federation for the next following financial year which the President lays before national assembly each year.
“These pundits may be ignorant about the very nature and exercise of ‘executive power’ which by our constitution must be deliberate and limited.”
Dogara said there was nothing known as “executive appropriation of public funds” in the country’s constitution.
He said subjecting the annual budget to public scrutiny at national assembly would give stakeholders opportunity to make their inputs and challenge incorrect assumptions in the budget.
“This process will involve the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and other professional bodies. The national assembly will benefit from the research skills of various CSOs and the technical expertise of professional bodies at the enactment stage of the appropriation bill.
“I am aware that many CSOs scrutinise the Budget yearly and usually point out areas of duplications and wastage. We need to institutionalise this mechanism,” he said.