Four hundred and sixty-nine lawmakers who were elected on the platform of various political parties in the February 23 National Assembly elections and the subsequent supplementary election will get N4.68bn as welcome package immediately after their inauguration in June.
According to investigation made by The Punch, the package is to help lawmakers to fund accommodation and furniture issues. While accommodation is paid once every year, furniture allowance is paid once in four years
The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission adds that accommodation and furniture allowances were two of the irregular entitlements of lawmakers and other political office holders.
Each member of the House of Representatives on resumption, therefore, is entitled to N9.926, 062.5, according to the prescription of the RMAFC in its Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders 2007 to Date.
This is the summation of furniture allowance of N5,955,637.5 and accommodation allowance of N3, 970,425 which a House of Representatives member is entitled to.
Therefore, the 360 lawmakers that will make up the House of Representatives to be inaugurated in June will be entitled to accommodation and furniture allowances of N3.57bn.
On the other hand, each senator is entitled to a combined furniture and accommodation allowance of N10,132,000 on assumption of office. While the accommodation allowance of a senator is N4,052,800, the furniture allowance is N6,079,200.
The 109 senators that will make up the 9th National Assembly will receive a total of N1.1bn when the red chamber opens in June altogether.
For motor vehicles, each of the senators is entitled to N8, 105,600 while each member of the House of Representatives is entitled to N7, 940,850.50.
The allowance for motor vehicles had been controversial in the past. According to RMAFC, this allowance payable once in four years is a loan and is optional. This means that it is repayable.
However, lawmakers that received the payment in the past had been known to ask the government to convert the loan to a grant.
Apart from these irregular allowances, there are other regular perks of office that are paid to lawmakers on a monthly basis. These include motor vehicle maintenance and fuelling. This is pegged at 75 percent of their monthly salary.
Others are personal assistant – 25 per cent; domestic staff – 75 per cent; entertainment – 30 per cent; utilities – 30 per cent; newspapers/periodicals – 15 per cent; wardrobe – 25 per cent; house maintenance – five per cent; and constituency – 250 per cent.
There are other entitlements that they are not paid to them directly but provided and paid for by the government. These are for their special assistants, security and legislative aides.
What this means is that those in this capacity are paid directly by the government as the allowances cannot be claimed by political office holders. These allowances apply to senators and Reps.
Medical expenses are also borne by the government when they have a need for health services.
The lawmakers are also entitled to tour duty allowance, estacode (when they travel) and recess allowances. For a senator, the tour duty allowance is N37, 000 per night; the estacode is $950 per night and the recess allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary.
For a member of the House of Representatives, the tour duty allowance is N35, 000 per night; the estacode is $900 per night and the recess allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary.
But a former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, has called on Nigerians to wage war against members of the 9th National Assembly and demand that they cut their salaries and allowances.
He said there was no way the country could sustain the type of money being received by the lawmakers.
Musa said that the situation had gone beyond appeal, saying begging the lawmakers to reason that the economic reality could not sustain such huge pay would not yield any positive result.
He recalled that an attempt by the late former President Shehu Shagari to then-members of the National Assembly on the same issue nearly cost him his office as he was threatened with impeachment.
Musa said, “Now, the situation is even worse. Therefore, I will not ask Nigerians to beg or appeal to the lawmakers. They should organise themselves and confront the lawmakers.
“They should fight them. If they do not, just a few of these men will cart away what belongs to the majority of the people. Many states are finding it difficult to pay salaries. They are almost becoming insolvent. Yet, a few lawmakers are feeding fat on the people and the country. This must stop if we must progress.”
Musa also called on the RMAFC to “get into work and do the needful” by drastically reducing the lawmakers’ pay.
Also, a non-governmental organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, decried lawmakers’ huge pay, saying it was one of the reasons the nation’s growth had remain stunted.
According to Kolawole Oludare, SERAP’s Deputy Director, said, “The proposed payment to the incoming legislators is another example of financial profligacy that has stunted our growth as a nation. These funds are better committed to crucial sectors such as education, health care, and security.”
Speaking in the same vein, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr Ahmed Raji, said the incoming lawmakers should be guided by the state of the nation’s economy and Nigerians’ standards of living.
He said, “They should look at the state of the economy and the general living standards of people and the expectations of Nigerians from them and ask their conscience if the allowances are conscionable.”
Armed men storm Rivers community, kill 15
Rampaging armed cultists invaded the community, raiding the home of rival cult members, killing at random.
A source in the community, who confirmed the killing, said the community have been witnessing cult related attacks as result of supremacy battle among rival gangs.
The source, who is a youth leader in the community identified as, Ana Hyacinth, said the incident has forced inhabitants to desert the community.
He called on government at all levels to urgently intervene in the situation to rescue the people.
“We woke up to a very gory situation in Kono Bo-ue Community to the fact that over 15 fifteen people were shot and killed by an armed cult group.
“It is unfortunate that despite moves by the governor to put an end to these killings, cultists have continued to Carey out attacks,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State police command has been contacted and were yet to react to the killing in Kono Bo-ue community in Khana Local Government Area at the time of this report.
Kaduna: ECWA pastor, daughter, 16 others kidnapped
The Nation reports that the Pastor and 16 others, among whom were his daughter and son of the pastor of Assemblies of God Church, were seized by gunmen within the church premises during service on Sunday.
Zaria DCC Secretary of the church, Rev Nath Waziri said “It is sad to inform you that one of our pastors, his daughter and 15 other members of ECWA Church Dankade were kidnapped in the early hours of today.
“The church hosted a combined choir fellowship Saturday night to early hours of today. Then, this morning (Sunday), kidnappers stormed the church, when the gunmen came, they asked everyone in the church to surrender his or her phones and demanded the whereabouts of the pastor.
“After threatening the choristers they became afraid and showed them the pastor’s home. They took him away and his daughter with 15 others, including the son of the pastor of Assemblies of God Church.”
He added that as at 10 p.m. on Sunday, no contact has been established with the kidnappers.
Nigerian newspapers: 10 things you need to know this Monday morning
1. A former Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has urged former President Olusegun Obasanjo to say more things he knows about Boko Haram, killer herdsmen and the alleged plot to Islamise Nigeria. He said Obasanjo remains the only politically active southern and Middle Belt leader that understands what is really going on, the grave danger Nigeria is in and what lies ahead. He also attacked former Jigawa governor, Sule Lamido, for attacking Obasanjo and defending President Muhammadu Buhari.
2. The Ohanaeze Youth Council, OYC, on Sunday, slammed the minister of transport, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi over his declaration that Ndigbo should forget 2023. In a statement by its National Secretary, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, the OYC said Amaechi was now the chief promoter of injustice. Okwu said it was an insult of the highest order for Amaechi to arrogate to himself the powers he does not have.
3. Former Governor of Jigawa state and Peoples Democratic party chieftain in the country, Sule Lamido has tackle former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo over his recent statements on insecurity in the country. Lamido while responding to the statement said Obasanjo was becoming a bigot due to his disappointment against the sitting president.
4. Staff and students of Kwara State Polytechnic have threatened to stage a peaceful protest over the appointment of a new Rector by the outgoing administration in the state. Mr. Kayode Rafiu, the leader of the students, said this in a statement issued in Ilorin on Sunday. Rafiu said the protest would commence on Tuesday, May 21. He said the protest became necessary due to the alleged “shabby process in the appointment of a new rector for the institution by the outgoing administration.’’
5. Nigeria international striker, Asisat Oshoala has become the first African to score in a UEFA Women’s Champion League final. The Super Falcons attacker came in as an 87th-minute substitute in Saturday’s final. With Lluis Cortes’ side trailing 4-0, the 25-year-old scored in the 89th minute. Her goal was, however, not enough to inspire her team’s fight back.
6. The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Sunday reacted to claim by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed that its 2019 presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar was plotting to overthrow the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government. However, spokesperson of PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan said the claim was a sign of desperation by the All Progressives Congress, APC, to hold onto power. Ologbondiyan alleged that APC was plotting to fabricate security accusations against the PDP and Atiku.
7. A senior Pastor of Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA), Dankade, in Igabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State, Rev. Zakariah Ido has been kidnapped. Reports claim that the Pastor and 16 others among whom were his daughter and son of the pastor of Assemblies of God Church, were seized by gunmen within the church premises during service on Sunday.
8. At least, fifteen persons have been allegedly killed and some beheaded by suspected cultists in Kono Bo-ue community in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State in a fresh cult clash in the area. Rampaging armed cultists invaded the community, raiding the home of rival cult members, and killing at random.
9. The Edo Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed DanMallam, on Sunday confirmed the killing of a lecturer with the Igbinedion University, Okada, near Benin, by suspected kidnappers. DanMallam said the lecturer, Kelvin Izebeokhai, was killed in an attempt to escape when the victims were being marched into the forest by the kidnappers.
10. Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano State has assured that the additional four Emirates have come to stay, insisting that, they were created in good faith without any disdainful treatment to anybody or group of individuals. He said this on Sunday while insisting that the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi is no longer the only first-class monarch in the state.
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