Chairman of the Movement for Nigeriaâ€™s Total Transformation, Chief Areoye Oyebola, has faulted the Nigerian federal lawmakers for ignoring the widespread call for the downward review of their â€œmonumental salaries and allowances.â€
Oyebola said the recent outburst of the federal legislators by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), was just one of many criticisms that had trailed the lawmakers over the years but to which they had turned deaf ears.
"It is also strange, unthinkable and very disheartening that a senator, not minding the grinding poverty of Nigerians, earns $1.7m a year, which is far higher than the $400,000 yearly income of the United Statesâ€™ President, whose stupendous country is the richest in the world. Even a member of the House of Representatives also earns more than the American President. What a tragic and pathetic situation!
â€œWorse still, each of our National Assembly members earns more than the British Prime Minister, while the pay of a member of Ghanaâ€™s unicameral legislature is a very small fraction of our House of Representativesâ€™ member jumbo pay of more than N10m in a month, let alone the monumental quarterly allowances that have led to serious public outcry.
â€œThe multi-million naira earned by the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives even worse, more outrageous and mind-boggling,â€â€Ž he said.
Oyebola noted that despite their modest pay, compared to the Nigerian federal lawmakers, the legislators in Ghana worked harder and â€œhave minimal absenteeism,â€ while they had also done much to sustain their countryâ€™s democracy, â€œwhich is a model for many African countries.â€
Oyebola called for a 90 per cent cut in the earnings of Nigerian elected public officials, saying with that they would still be richer than their counterparts in the US and the UK.
He added, â€œAs suggested below, for the National Assembly, the President, ministers, state governors, state legislators, chairmen of local governments and councillors should have their pay and allowances reduced to 10 per cent of their present earnings. If effected, each senatorâ€™s present earnings of N15m a month will be reduced to N1.5m or N18m a year. A similar 90 per cent reduction should be effected from the pay of members of the House of Representatives.â€