The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA Resource Center), a non-governmental and development organization, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to remove all illegal allowances inserted by the National Assembly in the 2018 budget
HEDA also asked the Nigerian president to initiate a process of re-claiming all the previous allowances collected by the lawmakers.
The group’s chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju, said this in a letter to the President in which it expressed concerns over the illegal jumbo allowances enjoyed by the members of parliament, especially the Senators.
The group noted in the letter that Senator Shehu Sanni had revealed, to the shock of the Nigerians, the parliamentarian's illegal collection of unconstitutional running cost, above the statutorily approved salaries and allowances, to the tune of N13.5M since the inauguration of this 8th Assembly during an interview with a newspaper.
The letter reads, "This is in the least, criminal, inhuman, cruel and corruption beyond imagination of observers of your government and its anti-corruption agenda. The Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), the body charged with responsibility of fixing remuneration package for political, public and judicial officer in Nigeria says monthly payment of N13.5M as running cost to senator is unknown to the Commission and therefore illegal."
"On March 29, 2018, SaharaReporters reported that each of the lawmakers in the House of Representatives also receives N11.5M monthly as running cost. RMAFC spokesman was reported to have said on the 28th of March that the approved monthly payment of a Senator was N1.06 million, and anything outside that amount is against the tenets of the Nigerian law as provided in Section 84 (1) of the 1999 Constitution as amended which provides that “there shall be paid to the holders of the offices mentioned in this section such remuneration, salaries and allowances as may be prescribed by the National Assembly, but not exceeding the amount as shall have been determined by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission”, and therefore disowned the jumbo payment to the lawmakers.
HEDA further asserted that the RFMAC spokesman had said the National Assembly Service Commission should be held accountable for the illegal allowances being collected by the lawmakers.
“He was also reported to have said that a closer look at the monthly entitlement of senators reveals that each senator collects salary and allowances in the sum of N1,063,860.00. Then we wonder what the running cost is for."
The Resource Center therefore urged the president not to leave no room for any person to abuse public trust by engaging in corrupt practices and misappropriation of public funds needed for addressing developmental challenges in the ongoing fight against corruption in the country.
"On this account, HEDA Resource Center hereby call on Your Excellency to demand the removal of all those illegal allowances, including but not limited to the N13.5M, inserted in the 2018 budget and the retrieval of all the previous monies collected illegally by the lawmakers from all those affected, so that all loopholes that encourage corrupt practices could be blocked and prevented," the group concluded.