Nigeria: Legislative Aides Write EFCC, Buhari Over Unpaid Allowances

11 December 2018

Some legislative aides to federal lawmakers have written a petition to the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, demanding an investigation into alleged diversion of their budgeted legitimate entitlements by the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara.

They also asked the EFCC chairman to bring the culprits to book and ensure the prompt payment of their allowances.

But Saraki in a swift reaction, said he had nothing to do with payment of salaries of legislative aides, adding that payment of salaries of legislative aides was handled by the management committee of the National Assembly.

Dogara and Mohammed Sani-Omolori could not be reached, yesterday, as calls and text messages sent to their telephones were unreplied.

Also copied in the letter is President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; Director-General of Department of State Service, Yusuf Bichi, and Chairman of Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Bolaji Owansanoye.

In the letter dated November 19, nine of the aides who do not want their names mentioned for fear of victimisation, signed on the endorsement page of the petition.

They accused the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Omolori, of diverting funds appropriated to them.

Reacting on behalf of his principal, Saraki's spokesperson, Yusuf Olaniyonu, said the Senate President had nothing to do with the salaries and allowances of legislative aides.

He explained that payment of the aides was controlled by the "management committee" of the National Assembly and that the aides were speaking ignorantly.

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"The salaries and allowances of National Assembly aides, including me, is handled by the people they call the management committee which is headed by the clerk, like the bureaucracy of the National Assembly.

"The Senate President does not have anything to do with it. In fact, I attended a meeting he held with them the other day, and he told them, 'I don't know a single thing about your salaries and allowances'.

"They have paid my salary now and he doesn't even know. My letter of employment is issued by the clerk, my ID card is signed by the clerk. My salary is paid by the clerk, I don't collect my salary from the Senate President.

"Funds that come into National Assembly, come under various headings. If it is senate, it goes to the clerk of the senate who then, administers it there. The one for House of Reps goes to House of Reps. Then the one for management goes to the entire staff, both political and bureaucratic.

"Even if he was not my boss, I cannot accuse him of diverting funds because he does not have anything to do with my salary and allowance. They are speaking ignorantly," he said.

Efforts to reach Mr Omolori and Mr Dogara's spokesperson, Turaki Hassan, were unsuccessful as they did not respond to calls and text messages sent to them.

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