SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, has said though the National Assembly agrees on the need for all Federal Government revenue to go into Treasury Single Account (TSA), it would not, however, allow the executive to control the finances of the legislature and the judiciary, since Nigeria is a democracy and not an empire.
In a series of tweets on Sunday on his Twitter handle, @doyakubu, where he was exchanging tweets with Sahara Reporters, he maintained that the three arms of government must be independent in line with the principle of separation of powers guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution.
He observed that notwithstanding the good intention of the TSA, it could not be allowed to override the provisions of the Constitution.
The Speaker noted that though President Muhammadu Buhari may not nurse a sinister motive with the TSA at the moment, nobody could foretell the future.
He recalled that the National Assembly supported the TSA in line with Section 80 of the Constitution, adding: “As to revenue, we agree in line with Section 80 of the Constitution that all federal receipts go into the TSA.
“All (Ministries, Department and Agencies) MDAs and Arms of government are not exempted when it comes to revenue. NASS stands for this but the executive cannot and must not control the finances of agencies that are independent of it.
“No matter the good intention behind TSA, it cannot override the constitutionally guaranteed principles of separation of powers.”
Apparently reacting to criticism concerning the legislature’s perceived reluctance to implement the TSA, he suggested that the lawmakers had not broken any law, saying, “instead of this hogwash, let us prove to Nigerians that we have (not) violated any law.
“We have sworn to defend our constitution and that’s what we will do except it’s amended, our stand holds.
“President Muhammadu Buhari may have good intentions and may not want to manipulate NASS, judiciary or INEC but who knows the future?
“That is why we must always promote institutional independence rather than measures that tend to compromise them.”
Dogara stressed that the legislature and the judiciary should be distinguished from the MDAs.
“I mean horizontal distribution of powers as opposed to federalism which relates to vertical distribution of powers.
“As for revenue, all NASS receipts go to TSA. We are part of it. Get the arguments right.
“We are part of TSA but opposed to executive control of NASS, judiciary and INEC except as the Constitution allows.
“Think outside the constitution and our laws. Nigeria is a democracy not an empire.
“This should be the ideal position or we create an agency that is independent of all arms of government to manage the TSA.
“We may need a special law to take care of special circumstances.
“In line with that, NASS will remain strong and unshaken in defending the constitution and democratic norms cum ethics.”