All is not well with senators and members of the House of Representatives. The lawmakers who embarked on their annual leave last month, have refused to visit their constituency offices in their various states.
Ripples Nigeria reliably gathered that the refusal of the lawmakers to travel to their respective constituencies, is as a result of the delay in the payment of their salaries and allowances.
A lawmaker from Edo and a member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who spoke to our correspondent in confidence, said he has been in Abuja since the National Assembly went on break.
He added that his family members are also here and may likely not travel to the village during the period. Asked whether he intends to visit before the expiration of the annual leave, he said it will depend on availability of funds.
“I cannot go home. What will I spend? In July, I was at home and I hosted my people. I spent almost N10 million on that event. If I go home now, nobody will understand that I do not have money. It is better to stay put here,” he said.
He declined further comments on claims that some lawmakers had approached the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, to help them facilitate small loans to meet their immediate family demands.
The lawmaker, who neither denied, nor gave credence to the claim, said, no arm of the government is insulated from the biting economic hardship.
He claimed that some ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s government, cannot meet their basic family demands as well, adding that only those who head ‘juicy’ Ministries were insulated from the hardship.
Meanwhile, Ripples Nigeria has also learnt that some lawmakers from both chambers of the National Assembly, especially first timers, have started withdrawing their children from foreign universities.
Also, some whose children are in expensive private universities in Nigeria, have withdrawn them. The new move is occasioned by the blocking of multiple streams of incomes, through which lawmakers, hitherto made money.
Findings showed that senators now earn N12 million per month. This includes salaries and allowances as well as other benefits. The other allowances were paid quarterly in the past, until lawmakers protested that it be paid every month.
For members of the House of Representatives, they now earn N10.5 million per month. Except for lawmakers who head juicy committees or principal officers, servicing their ostentatious lifestyles is now almost impossible.
Reprieve may however come their way soon, when they start their annual oversight functions, as no matter how small, Ministries, Departments and Agencies, will provide honorarium for them.
By Ehisuan Odia…
RipplesNigeria ….without borders, without fears