Posted by News Express | 25 June 2015 | 3,937 times
Some Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Tuesday in Abuja demanded a 60 per cent downward review in the salaries and allowances of National Assembly members.
The CSOs, during a protest at the National Assembly’s gate, said that the demand was important in view of the number of Nigerians living in poverty and the country’s revenue.
The Executive Director, Conscience Nigeria, Mr Tosin Adeyanju said the CSOs staged the protest because Nigerians were angry about the jumbo pay to lawmakers and appointees in spite of the country’s economic reality.
Adeyanju said Nigerian lawmakers were the highest paid in the world, adding: “We need this money to develop our infrastructure.
“In 2013, the National Assembly allocation and budget was about N50 billion; by 2015, it has astronautically jumped to about 120 billion for just 469 people. Is it justifiable?
“For a country that has over 180 million people, and in a nation that is in economic crises with huge dependence on oil revenue that has dipped by 50 per cent.
“We need to save Nigeria from imminent collapse or is it that they want this country to turn to another Greece,” he said.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to lead by example and ensure that the numbers of political appointees were reduced and their wages cut by 60 per cent.
“Political position must be made less attractive so that political assassination can stop and cost of electioneering in the country can reduce,” Adeyanju said.
The CSOs listed “Details of remuneration of Nigerian Senator” in a flier distributed by the protesters.
In the flier, the basic total monthly pay per senator is N29.47 million amounting to N353.76 million (US$2.18 million) per annum for each senator.
The breakdown of the payment pay put the Basic Salary (BS) at N2,482, 245.50; Hardship allowance (50 per cent of BS) amounts to N1,242,122; Constituency allowance (at 200 per cent of the BS) amounts to N4,968,509 and Newspapers allowance (at 50 per cent of BS) amounts to N1,242,122.70.
The monthly salary also includes; Wardrobe allowance (25 per cent of the BS) which amounts to N521,061.37; Recess allowance (10 per cent of the BS) which amounts to (N248,424.55) and Accommodation allowance (200 per cent of the BS) amounting to N4,968,509.
Others are; Utility allowance of 828,081.83 (30 per cent of BS); Domestic allowance of N1.86 million (70 per cent of BS) and Entertainment allowance of N828,082 (30 per cent of BS).
Vehicle maintenance allowance of N248,426, (75 per cent of BS); Severance Gratuity allowance of N7.5 million (300 per cent of BS) and Car allowance of N9.9 million (400 per cent of BS) were other allowances.
Adeyanju said the figures were obtained from a research conducted by the organisations, adding that if the lawmakers NASS disagreed, they should come out with their facts.
Also speaking with newsmen, Dr Pregrino Briamah, a co-convener of the protest called for 90 per cent downward review of the lawmakers’ salaries and allowances as well as an immediate termination of constituency project allowance.
Briamah said that the CSOs would not wait for the downward review by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) who he said lacked the credibility to do it.
He said a copy of their letters was already sent to President Buhari.
“We demand that the presidency should commence an immediate termination and investigation of the Directors of RMAFC or a total and radical overhaul of the agency. We also demand that there should be 100 per cent transparency and oversight. Every kobo that is budgeted for or spent by the National Assembly must be subjected to federal approval and review and declared openly to the public,” Briamah said.
He said that the country needed a unicameral and not bicameral legislation.
Addressing the protesters, a Sergeant-at-Arm and Assistant Director of Administration, National Assembly, Mr Denis Maji, commended their peaceful protest saying that the National Assembly would look into their request.
He said it was the NASS principal officers that were supposed to listen to such complaints but that the NASS was yet to elect them as they were just resuming sitting.
“Right now, since there are no committee or principal officers, we will collect your letter and make it available to them and it will be given due attention,” Maji said. (NAN)
•Photo shows the Senate in session.
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