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NASS Members Receive, Decry N12.3bn Welcome Package

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Nigeria's National Assembly
  • NASS Members Receive, Decry N12.3bn Welcome Package

Members of the National Assembly have been paid their welcome package, including accommodation and furniture allowances.

It was also gathered that some of the lawmakers were not happy because the allowances fell below their expectations.

A credible source in the National Assembly management told our correspondent on Sunday that lawmakers started receiving their allowances and running costs in batches from July 5. The official disclosed that senators were paid over N30m each while Reps received over N25m each.

“The lawmakers have been paid. They were paid on Friday. Members of the House got over N25m each and those in the Senate got over N30m. They were also paid their monthly running costs,” he said.

The Senate and House of Representatives have 109 and 360 members, respectively.

At “over N30m” each, senators have received a total of about N3.3bn while members of the House have pocketed over N9bn, totalling N12.3bn.

Though the amount paid as running costs was not disclosed, a member of the Eighth Senate, Senator Shehu Sani, had announced that each member of the upper chamber received N13.5m monthly. The amount paid to members of the House is said to be slightly lower.

The official however said the amount paid in the Eight Assembly had been maintained for the Ninth National Assembly.

A member of the House of Representatives, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the payment and the estimated figure quoted by the official.

Giving some details of the payments, he said, “The accommodation (allowance) is about N4m, the furniture allowance is about N3.9m, the car loan is about N7m. Everybody has been paid. The running cost is a normal (monthly) payment.”

When contacted, a member of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Bamidele Salam, neither confirmed nor denied the payments.

“I have no authority to confirm who has been paid and who has not been paid,” he said.

A member of the House had earlier given an insight into how the allowances were paid to lawmakers.

He said, “When you come as a new member, you are given furniture and accommodation allowances; these will total over N9m. They will give you the money and it is left for you to go and get a house or hotel; nobody will be housed anywhere. You will only be given accommodation and furniture allowance.”

In the Senate, members started collecting their payment on Wednesday last week.

Investigation by one of our correspondents revealed that majority of the first-time senators expressed disappointment after receiving their alerts.

One of the new senators from the North Central geopolitical zone, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told one of our correspondents the amount he received was too small.

He said, “The amount we collected, which included our June salaries and other allowances, is nothing to write home about.

“There is no way we can fund our constituency offices and take care of other important needs, including our own accommodation and mobility.”

The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, also said some of his colleagues were lamenting their poor pay contrary to their expectations.

He said, “Let me address the issue of jumbo pay. I have received my salary for June and it is far below what you people are writing.

“It is the money we use when we travel to Abia, Lagos, Badagry or Kaduna. You will now see that you are maligning and criticising the National Assembly for nothing.

“Most of my colleagues said they did not know it was going to be like this and I said we came to serve our country as senators.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

SERAP Urges FG to Slash Politicians’ Allowances

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the Chairman of Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Elias Mbam, to urgently review upward the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for Nigerian Judges, and reduce the remuneration of President Muhammadu Buhari and other political office-holders in order to address the persistent poor treatment of Judges, and improve access of victims of corruption to justice.

The appeal came on the heels of a nationwide industrial action by the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN) to press home their demand for financial autonomy for the judicial arm of government, and the federal government silence on the judiciary workers’ strike that has grounded court activities across the country.

In a letter dated April 10, 2021, which was signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said Judges should get all they are reasonably entitled to, and that it is unfair, illegal, unconstitutional, and discriminatory to continue to treat Judges as second-class people, while high-ranking political office holders enjoy lavish salaries and allowances.

SERAP expressed concern that the remuneration and allowances of Judges have fallen substantially behind the average salaries and allowances of political office-holders such as president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as members of the National Assembly.

The letter read in part: “According to our information, the last review of the remuneration, allowances, and conditions of service for political, public and judicial office holders carried out by RMAFC in 2009 shows huge disparity between the remuneration and allowances of judges and those of political office holders.

“Judges’ work is very considerable but they cannot give their entire time to their judicial duties without the RMAFC reviewing upward their remuneration and allowances, and closing the gap and disparity between the salaries of judges and those of political office holders such as the president, vice-president, governors and their deputies, as well as lawmakers.

“We would therefore be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, the Incorporated Trustees of SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel the RMAFC to comply with our requests.”

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COVAX Delivered 38m Vaccine Doses To Over 100 Countries, Says WHO

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) yesterday announced that more than 100 countries have received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from COVAX, the global mechanism for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines.

It said the milestone comes 42 days after the first COVAX doses were shipped and delivered internationally, to Ghana on February 24th.

In a statement, the United Nations’ Agency revealed that COVAX has now delivered more than 38 million doses across six continents, supplied by three manufacturers – AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and the Serum Institute of India (SII).

Of the over 100 economies reached, 61 are among the 92 lower-income economies receiving vaccines funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).

It, however, said despite reduced supply availability in March and April – the result of vaccine manufacturers scaling and optimising their production processes in the early phase of the rollout, as well as increased demand for COVID-19 vaccines in India – COVAX expects to deliver doses to all participating economies that have requested vaccines in the first half of the year.

According to the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Dr. Seth Berkley, “In under four months since the very first mass vaccination outside a clinical setting anywhere in the world, it is tremendously gratifying that the roll-out of COVAX doses has already reached 100 countries.

“COVAX may be on track to deliver to all participating economies in the first half of the year yet we still face a daunting challenge as we seek to end the acute stage of the pandemic: we will only be safe when everybody is safe and our efforts to rapidly accelerate the volume of doses depend on the continued support of governments and vaccine manufacturers. As we continue with the largest and most rapid global vaccine rollout in history, this is no time for complacency.”

The WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “COVAX has given the world the best way to ensure the fastest, most equitable rollout of safe and effective vaccines to all at-risk people in every country on the planet.

“If we are going to realise this great opportunity, countries, producers and the international system must come together to prioritise vaccine supply through COVAX. Our collective future, literally, depends on it.”

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Approved Ibom Deep Sea Port, Proposed $1.4B Fertilizer Plant Will Change Akwa Ibom’s Economic Status – Gov. Udom

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Akwa Ibom State Government has said the approved Ibom Deep Seaport and the proposed $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia Plant are expected to change the economic status of the state.

The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, made the assertion in an Easter message to the people of the state.

He maintained that with the recent approval and take off of the federal government’s approved Oil and Gas Free Zone and the ongoing construction of the Sterling Petrochemical Plant at Eastern Obolo, the state would be ready to dump its status as a civil service state.

The governor said the fertilizer and ammonia plants should be supported by all indegenes and residents irrespective of political affiliation because of its capacity to change the economic fortunes of the state.

The governor who commended President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the industrial projects in the state said construction work on the Ibom Deep Seaport would commence very soon.

“In recent past, we have been blessed with life-changing projects such as Sterling Petrochemical Plant in Eastern Obolo, where construction is in an advanced stage.

“Two months ago, the Federal Executive Council, (FEC) approved the license for us to commence the construction of our long desired Ibom Deep Seaport. Work would soon commence on this gigantic project. These are huge achievements for our State and our people.

“Ibom Deep Seaport will open up our economic fortunes; create employment and wealth opportunities for our people and throw open our State as a major maritime hub in our nation.

“We thank the President and the Commander in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) for this kind approval,” he said.

Continuing, Emmanuel said: “About three weeks ago, we signed a $1.4 billion Fertilizer and Ammonia plant with our Moroccan counterparts. The plant will again create huge employment and other supply chain activities for our people, which will transform us from a civil service oriented state to a fast industrialising one.

“These are huge achievements that should gladden the hearts of every Akwa Ibomite irrespective of political affiliations.”

He reminded the people of the state that the essence of Easter would be lost if the resurrection of Christ is not allowed to illuminate their souls through love and sacrifice to one another.

“Let the fishermen in the ocean fronts of Mbo, Okobo, Eastern Obolo and Ibeno love one another. Let the farmers in the rice plantations at Ini, Ikono, Ika, Onna and Nsit Ibom love one another.

“Let the civil servants and public servants, politicians in all political parties, members of all denominations, preachers of all faiths, love one another.

“When we let love drive our every action and every thought, when we let it drip from our lips and from our hands, then shall the joy of Easter be complete, and our State shall surely attain the lofty height set for it by our ancestors when they named it Akwa Abasi Ibom State.” the Governor stated.

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