Senators and House of Representatives members have been paid N93m as allowance for the six weeks recess they embarked upon, Daily Trust has gathered.
The legislators had embarked on the recess on 13th August after sitting for only 14 days and without debating any bills. They are to resume on the 29th next month.
Our correspondents report that the allowance was 10 percent of the annual basic salary of the legislators as stipulated in the remuneration package for political, public and judicial office holders in Nigeria by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
A calculation of the recess allowance of the legislators at both chambers showed that the country coughed out the sum of N93,307,662 for it.
Unlike the three other recesses embarked upon by the legislators at the peak of the controversies that engulfed the National Assembly, the ongoing recess was their statutory annual holiday.
It was reliably gathered that aside from the recess allowance, the legislators in both upper and lower chambers have been paid their accommodation as well as what is tagged 28 days allowance.
A browse on the allowances of the legislators as contained in the RMAFC showed that accommodation allowance was 200 percent of the lawmakers’ annual basic salary.
However, 28 days allowance could not be found in the RMAFC document on the salaries and allowances of the lawmakers.
In addition to these allowances, the lawmakers told our correspondents that their salaries for June and July have been paid.
Recall that before proceeding on recess, the lawmakers had stormy session over the move by the Senate leadership to cut down their salaries and allowances following the slash down of the annual budget of the National Assembly from N150bn to N120bn.
Our correspondents report that the salaries and allowances of the legislators at both chambers have been shrouded in secrecy. Efforts to get the reactions of the spokesperson of Senate, Dino Melaye and his House of Representatives counterpart, Sani Zorro yielded no result.
But in an interview, the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume said their salaries and allowances are not as big as the media are making it to look.
“The press is after us on this as they make unnecessary noise and tension but Nigerian legislators are not being paid bogus salaries or allowances as you are claiming. On a general note, part of the problems, we have in this country is that the Nigerian press have not key into the Nigerian project. You people must be part of it so that the country can move forward. You people must deemphasize on low level news and concentrate on what would move us forward.
“If we are being paid fat salaries, Senators and House of Representatives members that served in the 6th and 7th Assemblies will not be finding it difficult to pay their children’s school fees. There are some Senators who have not been paid there severance allowances and cannot meet their basic needs in life,” he said.