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Thursday, 15 March 2018

‘Leave us alone!’ — reps refuse to comment on allowances

‘Leave us alone!’ — reps refuse to comment on allowances

Lawmakers of the House of Representatives have declined requests to disclose their salaries and running cost.

Most members of the House of Representatives expressed fury when TheCable contacted them over the issue.

Recently, Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna central, disclosed that apart from the basic monthly salary of N750,000, each senator gets N13.5 million as “running cost”.

Sabi Abdullahi, spokesman of the senate later confirmed his claim, adding that “almost all holders of elective and appointive offices have running costs allocated to their offices and that cannot be said to be part of their salaries”.

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Abdulrazak Namdas, spokesman of the lower legislative chamber, refused to clarify what his counterpart at the senate said.

“Democracy is not only about lawmakers… why should I disclose what I earn as a lawmaker,” Namdas said.

“I’m not talking about the running cost of lawmakers. I can’t talk on that for lawmakers in the house of representatives because we have done that before. Why should I disclose it? If you think it is a public information, then go to the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

“Do you know the salary of a minister? Is he not a public official? Why are you bothering on our own? Democracy is not about only legislators.

“I cannot say this is what I earn because you don’t know the salary of a minister, and they are public officials too. But if a member of the House of Representatives says he earns this amount, then I can clarify.”

When told that the public is interested in knowing the earning of the lawmakers, he said: “If people are asking questions, let them be asking. It is natural for them to ask questions.

“The people don’t want to know about legislators alone. They also want to know about the executive and judiciary. So, why are you only asking the legislators?”

Jerry Alagboso, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker from Imo state, claimed feigned ignorance of his earnings.

Asked to give details of the earnings of lawmakers in the lower legislative chamber, he said: “I don’t know anything about that (the earnings).”

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When probed further, the lawmaker fired back in anger: “Why do you have to ask me about that? Go and meet the clerk of the national assembly.”

He ended the conversation abruptly.

In his response, Abubakar Garba, an All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmaker from Adamawa, said “I am not supposed to talk about that.”

Aina Akinola, also a PDP lawmaker, from Ekiti state, directed TheCable to Namdas — “he (Namdas) is the image maker of the house. Go and talk to Namdas. He is the person you should talk to.”

Efforts made to get the reaction of Mohammed Sani-Omolori, clerk of the national assembly, on the matter was unsuccessful as he was unavailable when we paid a visit to his office.

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