Nigerians have expressed their outrage at the news that the country's 469 newly elected lawmakers will receive a total of US$13 million (4.68 billion naira) as a welcome package after their inauguration in June. The money is said to be for helping them "sort out accommodation and furniture issues".
When the welcome package awarded to members of Nigeria's new National Assembly is broken down, each person will take home about US$28 000 (9.9 million naira). The furniture allowance amounts to US$16 414 (5.95 million naira), while the accommodation allowance is US$10 943 (3.97 million naira). According to Punch, a leading Nigerian newspaper, the 360 lawmakers who make up the House of Representatives are entitled to furniture and accommodation allowances worth US$10 million.
The 109 Nigerian senators who will resume their duties in June will receive US$3 million in allowances. Each senator is entitled to US$22 000 for motor vehicles, while each member of the House of Representative is entitled to US$21 886 for this purpose.
Nigerians have responded with disgust to the jumbo salaries that their lawmakers are receiving, given that global indices indicate that their country is one of the seats of poverty.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), a non-profit, non-partisan, legal and advocacy organisation, has called on Nigerians to sue the National Assembly by filling in this form.
Equally, Enough is Enough (EiE), a coalition of young Nigerians promoting good governance and citizen engagement, has called for Nigerians to stand up against this excess.
According to the World Poverty Clock, 91 757 111 Nigerians are currently living in poverty, which represents 46.5 per cent of the country's population. Unfortunately, there is no evidence of well-paid Nigerian lawmakers doing anything to tackle poverty in the country they have been selected to serve.
Nigerian lawmakers recently passed legislation that approved a minimum wage for workers at US$82, an increase from US$50. Nevertheless, there is still uncertainty about the government paying the minimum wage and of it being enforced in many states across Nigeria.