Home » Headlines, Legislature » Jumbo pay: Executive, legislature taking Nigerians for a ride–Ex-senators, others

Jumbo pay: Executive, legislature taking Nigerians for a ride–Ex-senators, others

Former members of the National Assembly and prominent civil rights activists have described the jumbo pay of Nigerian lawmakers as a conspiracy between the federal executive and the legislature. A senator earns about N15m every month and a member of the House of Representatives earns about N10m. These eminent Nigerians, who spoke with SATURDAY PUNCH on the telephone on Friday, reasoned that the huge remuneration of the NASS members had contributed to the neglect of other critical sectors of the nation. Former members of the Senate, Dr. Femi Okurounmu, and Chief Olabiyi Durojaiye contended that the take-home pay of the federal lawmakers had become an impediment to the growth of the nation. Okurounmu, a senator between 1999 and 2003 under the umbrella of the Alliance for Democracy, described the remunerations of the federal legislators as not only sacrilegious, but also outrageous. The Harvard-trained engineer said, “I happened to have been raising the alarm in my column in the Tribune in the past three years that we cannot continue with this sacrilegious pay and expect a meaningful development takes place. But who would listen to such warning? “Agreed that the remunerations were fashioned out by the agents of the executive, most of the allowances were inserted insidiously. That, in itself is bare-faced fraud. It is bare-faced looting.” Durojaiye described the “extra-ordinarily high pay”of the lawmakers as portraying the nation in bad light. He said, “If it is true that the legislators are being paid what had been reported in the newspapers then, we have portrayed the nation in bad light; not when we have so many things like electricity, security, water and education among others to attend to.
“These are the things that touch the lives of the people. Why should the cost of legislation be that high? It is a disservice to the nation if one small unit is gulping so much.”

The former president of the Civil Liberty Organisation, Ms. Ayo Obe, accused the federal legislators of collecting money for a job they are not doing.

She said, “It is understandable that someone will be paid for a work done, but in this case, these legislators are not even doing the job. There are so many bills that have not been debated. You pay people for working; not for doing nothing. So, what are we paying for?”

Obe, a legal practitioner, believed that political parties should be involved in fixing the remunerations of political office holders.

She said such a move would assist in curtailing unreasonable increases in the lawmakers’ pay package by the NASS.

“The same criteria should be applicable to every other officer; not the lawmakers fixing and adjusting their own remunerations. The problem we have here is that we are not even running an issue-based campaign in this country,” she said.

The National President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Mr. Supo Ojo, noted that both the executive and the legislative arms of government had “taken the people of Nigeria for granted.”

According to the legal practitioner, the two arms of government, which he accused of not “having respect” for the people, have been toying with the finances of the country.

Ojo said, “The executive fixes the remunerations of the legislature through the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission. It is the same executive that is now inciting the people against the legislators.”

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