Management of the National Assembly has denied paying a holiday largesse to senators contrary to the disclosure by the senate president, Godswill Akpabio, during a Senate plenary.
The parliament bureaucracy said the N2 million it paid to each senator was a statutory running cost of their offices, captured in the 2023 budget, and not for a jamboree or vacation as being insinuated.
Akpabio had penultimate Monday night at the tail-end of a special plenary session after the Senate completed the screening and confirmation of President Bola Tinubu’s ministerial nominees, openly informed senators that the CNA, Magaji Tambuwal, had wired money into their individual bank accounts to enjoy their annual holiday.
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“To enable all of us to enjoy our holidays, a token has been sent to our various accounts by the Clerk of the National Assembly…,” Akpabio had said amid interruptions from senators, who were apparently dissatisfied with his public disclosure for fear of a backlash.
The development forced the senate president to pause a bit, withdraw the statement for the record, and rephrase the same information.
“To enjoy your holidays, the Senate President has sent prayers to your mailboxes to assist you to go on a safe journey and return,” Akpabio had said jocularly in the alternative to calm down frayed nerves.
Nigerians, however, took to social media to berate the senate president and his colleagues for allegedly feeding fat on the nation’s commonwealth when most Nigerians faced economic challenges occasioned by the federal government’s policy of petrol subsidy removal, among others.
NASS Clerk Disowns Akpabio, Says N2m ‘Bonanza’ Not For Vacation
Some also wondered why political officeholders would enjoy the office perks to the fullest while President Bola Tinubu asked ordinary Nigerians to sacrifice.
But a statement signed by the secretary, research & information on behalf of the clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Dr Ali B. Umoru, yesterday, a copy of which was obtained by LEADERSHIP, said the N2 million payment to the lawmakers was not a new development or privilege, but an entitlement backed by the Appropriation Law for the running of their offices.
“The attention of the Management of the National Assembly has been drawn to the persistent mischaracterisation and misunderstanding of the payment of an N2,000,000 allowance to each senator.
“It should be noted that the N2 million is part of the running cost of each senator’s office as provided for in the 2023 budget.
“The allocation for running costs is not a new development; it has been standard practice. These funds are utilised to facilitate various activities that directly contribute to effective representation, legislative activities and other initiatives to serve the people’s interests.
“For the avoidance of doubt and for emphasis, the said allowances were budgeted for in the 2023 Appropriation Act as part of the running cost of the office of each Senator of the 10th Assembly. The subsidies are an entitlement, not a privilege or largesse distributed to the Senators.
“However, given the wrong impression the subject matter has created, it has become imperative to make this clarification and put the records straight,” Umoru stated.
He reiterated that the National Assembly remains committed to transparency and accountability in public funds’ management. He added, “We appreciate the continued support and understanding of the Nigerian people as we work together to uphold the principles of democracy and good governance.
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