In the history of Nigeria, the recent huge severance package proposed by the National Assembly members until now, has never before, in our political history, evoked such deep welter of emotions. For some lawmakers who clamoured for equity, justice, accountability while seeking office, their new found quest for feeding an unsustainable lifestyle begs wether there is a genuine concern for true and democratic distribution of our commonwealth and the 'change' catchphrase. For concerned Nigerians, the 8th National assembly comes across with a season for pathetic posturing and shallow sloganeering of 'change' to line their pocket, thus conveniently shutting their minds to its reverberations. However, the Nigerian majority who suffers for the conscienceless minority are clamouring for a huge slash in the proposed severance package. Emileo Castrol a true picture of the how the National Assembly members feed and unsustainable lifestyle and the reality that stares the new administration saddled with the 'change' burden in the face...
National Assembly Budget: What Nigerians don't know about National Assembly members' Allowances...
While the N8.64 billion-wardrobe allowance provided for National Assembly lawmakers has been making headlines, similar provisions have slipped away unnoticed. The incredible amount of money Nigerian lawmakers make is even terribly ridiculous considering that the country's monthly minimum wage is only about $90 USD a month, approximately N18, 000.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yusuf Lasun, from Osun State has responded to public outcry over the N150 billion National Assembly (NASS) budgetary allocation by saying that the sum is not excessive.
In his statements are in response to the public outcry that has followed the release of the budget of the National Assembly. The Nigerian public was outraged to discover that billions of public funds were being funneled into wardrobe, housing, and vehicle allowances for Nigerian legislators. The outcry revolves around rejecting or significantly scaling down obscene salaries, wardrobe, furniture and other allowances, urging them to donate to salary owing state governments to pay salaries.
Making a case for the common Nigerian man...
Millions of workers across the country have not been paid salaries, some earn as low as N15000 per month. Yet, legislators are about to be paid an excess severance package from the taxes of suffering Nigerians to feed an ostentatious and unsustainable lifestyle- clothes, vehicles and furniture's that they can afford on their own, and vehicles that many of them already own multiple of. Some of these legislators are the same ex-governors who left these huge outstanding debts in salaries behind.
They were voted in to represent these people, and make life better for them not rip them off. With trending petitions and the era of change seemingly here, the change anticipated to start at the top by blocking all leakages in the system, through the scaling down of obscene salaries and allowances.
The daily Lifestyle of an average National Assembly member, A Tale of greed, avarice and insensitivity on the part of these elected officials...
This is a rather unfortunate but true picture of what goes on in Abuja. Painting the real life scenario of what the ideal day in the life of a National Assembly member looks like. The average day of Nigerian National Assembly member which is mainly dominated by men begins at 10am after a long night of booze, womanising and laze about in his living room for a while. He arouses himself from slumber with yet another bottle of booze, this time light spirits from his in-house bar, and then cleans up yourself and gets ready for the 'office' he wouldn't get to until after 12 pm despite being just within a distance away.
At his 'office' at the legislative quarters, he'll pretend to busy yourself with some non-existent paper works and generally spend most of the time there exchanging banters with old buddies on phone and closing up late night clubbing appointments and booze rendezvous, all on phone.
After lazing around the office after spending less than two unproductive hours with colleagues and hangers-on at the legislative lobby and drive ways accompanied by fair weather friends and ladies of sultry intentions. This hang around persists till the early evening after which he leaves for the pub, a secluded, privileged hideout where him and his idle legislative colleagues drink themselves to state of unconsciousness. There, their pimps come around with a harem of scarlet ladies they've arranged themselves. They pick their choices from the company of scantily but seductively dressed 'prostitutes' and arrange her to wait you at the usual rendezvous joint, a hotel room usually not far away from where they'll spend the better part of the evening with her, late into the night, after several hours of boozing and clubbing.
They are at their rendezvous, eventually, with their lecherous female accomplices indulge in several hours in bouts of bedmatics till very late in the night before they sneak back into the legislative quarters at ungodly hours of the morning possibly between 1am to 2 am to sleep and snore away like lazy pigs with glorified paraphernalia of office 'Nigerian Federal Legislators'. In the real sense, they legisloot and legisteal. Who shall deliver Nigeria from such indolence?
Passing on the Baton of a Corrupt National Assembly...
The rot Nigerians say did not just start, as one of the 47 bills that were hurriedly enacted into law by the 7th Assembly under 10 minutes by Senator David Mark no doubt pronounced mouth-watering retirement benefits and pensions for former Senate Presidents, Deputy Presidents, and Speakers of the House of Representatives and Deputy Speakers.
Now, that the former Senate President, David Mark has become a high ranking member of the Senate, through the greedy and selfishly promulgated laws enacted, he is bound to enjoy the bogus pension the 7th Senate presided over, passed into law and at the same time earn fat allowances as a member of the 8th Senate. How greedy can one man earn multiple sources of income from the same source?
In other to avoid ambiguities, Senator David Mark is still a serving member of the Senate. He, however cannot begin to enjoy the Pension earmarked for former Senate Presidents because they are for retirees. Lest we forget, asides mouth-watering allowances, he receives pension as a retired Brigadier General. Nigerians are not sure he'll forfeit one for the other whenever he begins to enjoy his pension Former Senate President. The Present Senate President, Bukola Saraki who presently enjoys pension as State Governor amidst several cornered largesse amassed while in office as Governor, will no doubt fit into the picture describe of Senator David Mark.
Meanwhile, millions of workers across the country have not been paid salaries, some earn as low as N15000 per month. Yet, legislators are about to be paid in excess of an average of N5m a year from the taxes of these same people just to buy clothes that they already own, Furniture that they can afford on their own, and vehicles that many of them already own multiple of. Some of these legislators are the same ex governors who left these huge outstanding salaries behind. They were voted in to represent their people, and make life better for them not rip them off. The seeming era of 'change' which the ruling party says will sweep the country clean, seems not have be starting at the top, thus leaving more questions raised and unanswered. Legislators do not seem to want to prove to Nigerians that they care. Should the Speaker be truly willing to you want to block leakages in the system, he might want to start with cutting these obscene salaries and allowances.
For one of Nigeria's Senior Legal Voices, Chuks Nwana these were his words,” It is certainly indefensible that lawmakers will collect such hefty severance packages for having worked intermittently for only 4 years while other categories of public servants and pensioners wallow in abject poverty. It is indeed a shame that in the face of dwindling oil revenues the appetite of our lawmakers is not satiated. In other societies elected officials have taken the lead by taking voluntary pay cuts to shore up government revenue. It is indeed a shame that such colossal payout will be made to members of the National Assembly when there is evidence that several states are unable to pay salaries. I also wish to comment on the conduct of governors who prescribe hefty pay out for themselves and pass it into law making it impossible for it to be repealed. In effect while some of them are earning salaries and other perks the state still provides for them while others live in abject penury. The whole matter is a cocktail of greed, avarice and insensitivity on the part of these elected officials. This is one area of avoidable waste that has to be addressed if Nigeria is not to go bankrupt.''
A global comparison of Senators pay cheques per annum...
Basic Salary (B.S) - N2, 484,245.50 .Hardship Allowance (50% of B.S) - N1,242,122.70
Constituency Allowance (200% of B.S) - N4, 968,509.00 .Newspapers Allowance (50% of B.S) - N1, 242,122.70. Wardrobe Allowance (25% of B.S) - N621, 061.37 .Recess Allowance (10% of B.S) - N248, 424.55. Accommodation (200% of B.S) - N4, 968,509.00 .Utilities (30% of B.S) - N828,081.83 .Domestic Staff (70% of B.S) - N1,863,184.12 .Entertainment (30% of B.S) - N828,081.83. Personal Assistants (25% of B.S) - N621,061.12 .Vehicle Maintenance. Allowance (75% of B.S) - N1, 863,184.12. Leave Allowance (10% of B.S) - N248, 424.55
Severance Gratuity (300% of B.S) - N7, 452,736.50. Car Allowance (400% of B.S) - N9, 936,982.00. The total monthly salary equals N29, 479,749.00 ($181,974.00), while the total yearly salary comes to = N29, 479,749.00 x 12 = N353, 756,988.00
However, the average wage of Nigerian worker based on the national minimum wage is N18, 000.00, So, the yearly salary is N18, 000.00 x 12 = N216, 000.00 Remember, Yearly Salary of Nigerian Senator = N353, 756,988.00 Proportion: N353,756,988.00/N216,000.00 = 1,638. It will no doubt take an average Nigerian worker 1,638 years to earn the yearly salary of a Nigerian Senator.
Angered Nigerians raise a voice...
In the heat of the debate, a media and entertainment business mogul turned politician, the newly elected Senator Ben Murray Bruce went Under Fire On Twitter as Nigerian questioned his pre and post-campaign lip- service, integrity and Stance On abuse of Government office and funds.
The Senator, who represents Bayelsa East Senatorial District, has said that he is not aware of N8.64 billion of the National Assembly budget that was set aside for wardrobe expenses.
Bruce's statements are efforts to curb the criticism he has received from Nigerians about his silence on budget allocations. One of Bruce's platforms prior to the elections was anti-extravagance in the senate and the need for public servants to mirror the financial situation of a majority of citizens in the country.
The live like mushrooms. The Holy Book calls it the splendor of the meadows. Nigerians cough out N9billion to cloth idling 'legislooters and legislathieves' who wasting of public funds while millions sleep on empty stomach for another four years.
Questioning the morality of the proposed huge free for all severance package, A pained lawyer and Principal at Tsedaqah Attorneys, Ikechukwu Uwanna, Esqrasied a voice against the despicable extravagant budgetary allocation, "At a time when most states in the Federation are unable to finance their overhead; a time when the price of crude oil is at the lowest and economists agree that austerity is engulfing the nation: dwelling in excess and immoral affluence is not the way to go. Indeed it is immoral and despicable for the National Assembly to dwell in excess at this time, instead of ensuring that the lean resources available are properly utilized."
With millions of Nigerian trending petitions and the era, owed salaries, debts and wanton impunity glaringly staring the Nigerian public, the true test of the seeming change anticipated to start at the top by blocking all leakages in the system, through the scaling down of obscene salaries and allowances aimed at feeding the proposed unsustainable lifestyle of National Assembly members, is put to test