Protesters numbering about 60 gathered in front of the National Assembly complex on Tuesday to demand 60 percent cut in salaries and allowances of members of the 8th National Assembly and all political appointees in Nigeria.
The protesters who gathered under the aegis of a civil society organisation, Conscience Nigeria, also demanded that the Nigerian legislature be made a part-time one in view of the high cost of maintaining the National Assembly and frequent recesses embarked on by Federal lawmakers.
“Why will 469 members share N120bn in a year? If we don’t act, Nigeria will collapse like Greece. The time has come for National Assembly members to declare their pay. The secrecy must stop,” Comrade Tosin Adeyanju, Executive Director of the group, told newsmen during the protest.
In a comparative analysis conducted by Conscience Nigeria on salaries and allowances of lawmakers in five developed countries, Nigeria’s federal lawmakers were the highest earners.
The break-down shows: USA lawmakers earned $174,000, United Kingdom $105,000, France $85,000, Germany $119,500, Canada $154,000 and Nigeria $181,974.
“In terms of lawmakers’ salary as GDP per capita, the gap is even wider; the salary of the Nigerian lawmaker is 116 times the country’s GDP per person. That of the British member of parliament is just 2.7 times.
“The average salary of Nigerian workers based on the national minimum wage of N18,000 x 12 months = N216,000 per year. Remember, yearly, salary of the Nigerian Senator is $2,183,685. Therefore, it will take an average Nigerian worker more than a lifetime to earn the yearly salary of a Senator,“ Adeyanju said during his presentation.
NASS Budget to be reviewed in line with economic realities – Senate
Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki, has promised that an adhoc committee will be set up to reappraise the structure of the National Assembly budget in line with current economic realities.
Saraki decried the unsustainable cost of governance in the country and the rising cost of doing business, insisting that since Nigerians voted for change, they expect an improvement in the quality of governance, and therefore, called on the lawmakers to brace up for the challenges ahead.
He also labelled as “false and malicious” media reports about lawmakers’ allowance, describing the reports as “reckless” and stressed the need for the National Assembly to run a more transparent system to avoid the attendant misinformation of this sort of mischief.
Saraki appoints Isa Galaudu Chief Of Staff, Yusuph Olaniyonu Media Adviser
The Senate President has appointed Senator Isa Galaudu as his Chief of Staff, while Yusuph Adesola Olaniyonu will be his Special Adviser on Media.
The appointments were announced in a statement by the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly Benedict Efeturi.
“The President of the Senate, Distinguished Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has appointed Senator Isa Galaudu as his Chief of Staff and Yusuph Adesola Olaniyonu as his Special Adviser on Media. The appointments take immediate effect,” the statement read.