Nigerians kick against National Assembly N4.68bn ‘welcome package’

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More than 1,500 concerned Nigerians, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), BudgIT and Enough is Enough Nigeria (EiE) have filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court to restrain, prevent and stop the National Assembly Service Commission from paying the incoming members of the 9th National Assembly over N4.68 billion as ‘welcome package’.

SERAP, BudgIT and EiE, suing for themselves and on behalf of 1,522 concerned Nigerians, stated that the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has failed to do any downward review of salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly since 2007 in spite of the economic downturn in Nigeria, though the commission is required to review the pay of the lawmakers, in conformity with the country’s economic realities and to achieve fiscal efficiency.

In the suit filed before the Federal High Court in Lagos, the plaintiffs said given many years of extreme poverty in the country, and the inability of several state governments to pay salaries of workers and pensions, the refusal or failure of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to review and cut the salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly is a gross violation of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) and the commission’s own Act.

Joined as defendants in the suit are the Senate President, House of Representatives Speaker, National Assembly Service Commission and Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.