Senate President Bukola Saraki has denied that federal lawmakers get N9billion wardrobe allowance.
He also said there were plans by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to reduce salaries and allowances of federal lawmakers.
Saraki, who stated this on his Twitter handle yesterday after meeting with the RMAFC boss, said the annual wardrobe allowance for each senator is N506,600 per annum, about N2.25 million for their four-year tenure.
He also absolved lawmakers of indiscriminately allocating monies to themselves, and said that RMAFC had the sole responsibility of fixing their remuneration, adding that the Commission would soon publish details of their allowances on its website.
“RMAFC was in my office to clarify (that) wardrobe allowance is N506,600 per senator. I have just been informed that RMFAC will be publishing details of allowances on their website.
“With the current challenge we are facing as a nation, RMAFC will be reviewing allowances to reflect the current economic trend. Fixing remuneration is sole responsibility of RMAFC,” the Senate president said.
LEADERSHIP recalls that there were media reports that a member of House Representatives collects N17.5 million as wardrobe allowance annually, while a senator receives about N21.5 million.
Saraki Warns MDAs over non-remittance of revenue
Meanwhile, the Senate president yesterday warned federal government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that mismanagement and non-remitting of revenue due to the Federation Account will no longer be condoned.
Addressing RMAFC boss, Engr. Elias Mbam, and his team when they paid him a courtesy visit in his office, Saraki noted that non-compliance by agencies of government in remitting monies had brought major setbacks in the processes of governance.
He reiterated the support of the Senate in bringing justice to any erring agency that indulges in diverting government’s revenue.
“Monetary revenue and allocation is a serious challenge to our economy. Though, diversification of economy is very important but it is not an overnight issue. We must block every leakage in government revenue.
“We made campaign promises to Nigerians, and we must fulfill all our pledges. It cannot be business as usual. We will do everything within our capacity to elevate the living standard of Nigerians,” he said.
Earlier, Mbam had called for continued working partnership with the National Assembly to enhance its effectiveness.
Saraki’s Ramadan Message
In his Ramadam message, Saraki urged Muslim faithful to use the holy month of Ramadan to pray to Allah for divine intervention in the fight against the insurgency that is ravaging the nation.
He said, “Muslim scholars should educate their audience of what is expected of Muslims during and after the holy month of Ramadan to earn Allah’s blessings. As we begin this year Ramadan fast, we must be firm in the pursuit of good deeds, we must pray for peace and unity of our dear country”.
He reminded Muslims to be of good courage and be helpful to the needy during the Ramadan fast, saying that those are the commandments of Allah.
Oil Barons Did Not Sponsor Saraki For Senate President – Senators
Like Minds Senators, a pro-Saraki group in the Senate, has faulted an allegation published in one of the national dailies that Senator Bukola Saraki’s emergence as Senate president was facilitated by oil barons, describing it as a calculated mischief.
The group also stressed that the Senate president would not partake in any activity that would undermine the anti-corruption stance of President Muhammadu Buhari, adding that Saraki’s antecedents show that he has always been against corruption in the oil sector and Nigeria as a whole.
A press statement signed and released by the group’s spokesman, Sen Dino Melaye, yesterday, also noted that the same oil barons which Saraki worked to expose during his assignment as the chairman of the adhoc subsidy probe committee of the Senate could not possibly be the same people he would be liaising with to promote his ambition.
The statement, entitled ‘Lies from the Pit of Hell’, read in part, “For avoidance of doubt, we want to make it abundantly clear that it is totally false, untrue and calculated mischief to suggest that Senator Saraki’s emergence as Senate president was facilitated by oil barons. This is a case of calling the dog a bad name so as to hang it. (It’s) Another blatant lie that cannot fly.”
The senators further stated that the news report was designed “to give a negative and dirty impression that the emergence of the president of the 8th Senate was aimed to sabotage the anti-corruption posture of President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government.
“We also wish to state unequivocally that it was wrong and mischievous for the writer of the fictional piece to link what happened on the floor of both chambers to some unnamed ex-ministers of the immediate past administration.
“We dare say that the entire story, detailed as it may seem, was the figment of the imagination of the author. That the story was packed full of insinuations and wild allegations and the writer evaded specificity in the names of the dramatist personae throughout the story smacks of bad journalism.
“We make bold to state that, in the 7th Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki was chairman of the Senate Adhoc committee which exposed the fraud and mismanagement in the oil sector. Until Saraki’s motion on the floor of the Senate, no one was in the picture of the rot in the sector. Therefore, surely, Senator Saraki will be the last person the oil baron will want to see as Senate president.
“In that position, Saraki did not only lead his colleagues in exposing the rot in the scheme but made very strong recommendations on how the system could be reformed and made corrupt- free.”
The statement continued, “Further to this, during the Senate hearing on the missing $20 billion, for those who attended the public hearing, Senator Saraki led the onslaught of difficult questions to both the minister of Finance, minister of Petroleum and other federal agencies despite being in the ruling party then. To this effect, Senator Saraki refused to sign the final copy of the committee’s report but rather put forward a minority report with a press statement that followed suit. Saraki went further to oppose the inclusion of kerosine subsidy in the 2015 budget as well as his opposition to Petroleum Swap deal by NNPC.”
The group insisted that the Senate presidency of Saraki would not in any way be a stumbling block against President Buhari’s posture against corruption. “Rather, the 8th Senate under him as the president would give all necessary legislative support to the administration to fight and reduce corruption as his previous actions and bold steps taken against the so-called oil barons indicate that Saraki is committed to anti-corruption,” it declared.