JUMBO SALARIES: Reps Still Evasive

The House of Representatives has avoided making a direct comment on whether it will comply with the order of an Abuja Federal High Court asking the National Assembly to compute and make public the total salaries and allowances collected by lawmakers from 1999 till date.

Seal of the Nigerian House of Represenatives

Seal of the Nigerian House of Represenatives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The House, in a reaction to the decision of the court, total sum ofSATURDAY PUNCH that its comments on the issue would be “prejudicial.”

According to the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, the House will not commit itself by saying whether it will comply with the order or not.

Mohammed said, “Our comments will be prejudicial; we are an arm of the government and the order of the court was on a specific issue.

“The matter is before the court; so, we won’t commit ourselves.”

An organisation, the Legal Defence and Assistance Project, had sought the leave of the court to compel the Clerk of the National Assembly to make public the salaries and allowances of senators and members of the House.

Arguing that the lawmakers were earning more than they deserved, the body sought the leave under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.

The court granted the prayer on Monday.

However, while the Senate responded on Wednesday that it would obey the decision of the court, the House claimed that its comments would amount to prejudice.

The Leader of the Senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba, stated, “We have nothing against the judgement.

“We have nothing to hide. Our salaries are already public knowledge.

“Our salaries are fixed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and we will not be disclosing anything new.”

The Senate leader had dismissed insinuation that members of the National Assembly were being paid “jumbo salaries.”

He argued that the acclaimed jumbo salaries were actually funds provided in the budget of the National Assembly for the running of offices and supply of utilities.