18 February 2013

Nigeria: Fresh Crisis Looms in House of Reps Over Members' Pay

As the National Assembly tries to wriggle out of the budget padding feud with the Presidency, a fresh round of crisis is looming in the House of Representatives following allegation by some aggrieved members that the leadership has short-changed them in the payment of their salaries and allowances.

The aggrieved members of the House of Representatives, who spoke to Vanguard last night, accused the leadership of trading with their salaries and allowances since the inception of the current 7th session of the NASS.

According to the members, who did not want to be named for now, the management of the NASS had at the inauguration of the current session started paying them a paltry N15 million per quarter as against the N43 million that their predecessors were getting per quarter.

The members, who were armed with some documents to buttress their point, pointed out that the management later in June 2012 grudgingly jerked their pay to N27 million per quarter following threats by some angry members to confront the leadership.

The grouse of the aggrieved members is that it is wrong for their pay to be unjustifiably and inexplicably slashed by the leadership of the House of Representatives when the allocation to the NASS has not been reduced from N150 billion per year by the Federal Government.

Vanguard gathered that out of the amount, N43 billion is set aside for the running of the NASS while 40 percent goes to the Senate and 60 percent is taken by the House of Representatives because of their large size of 360 members compared to the Senate's 109.

But it was learnt that unlike in the Dimeji Bankole-led House of Representatives when members were paid N43 million per quarter, the current leadership has only paid a maximum of N27 million to members with effect from June last year without explaining to members what happens to the balance of the money.

"That is why we want to draw the attention of Nigerians to a potential war that is about to break out in the House of Representatives unless our money is fully remitted to us as was the case in the 6th NASS," the members warned.

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