The chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay has condemned the members of the National Assembly once again for their greed, selfishness and materialism in the face of the suffering of the Nigerian people they are elected to serve. According to him, senators with mega salaries should not be clothed by Nigerians.
In his exact words: “There’s one more thing I need to stress. If you look at the allowances, Nigerians need to ask themselves questions. Should we be the ones clothing Senators? Should my tax be used in hanging Agbada on a Senator? The press has not taken it up, but this is serious. How many times have government provided clothes for you, and yet you’re clothed?
“But these men who are overpaid, who are absorbing the largest share of our resources are still asking us to clothe them, as if they arrived in Abuja naked. It’s not acceptable. These same people are collecting huge sums, claiming that they’re suffering hardship by doing their job. If you go to the Senate chambers, you will see the luxurious furnishing, fully air-conditioned; you’ll see staff running around, attending to every little thing they need, serving them, hand and foot that is hardship.
“What about the man who is earning N18,000 a month, who’s carrying machinery, working in a factory, cutting grass on the road, cleaning the roads, sweating with hard labour. Nobody is paying them hardship allowance. But the people are paid hardship allowance for living in tremendous luxury.
“They’re claiming utility allowance. In other words, if we don’t give them money, they don’t have cutlery, tablecloth, plates and saucepans. We have to provide those for them. The list goes on. It is criminal. It is unconscionable. It is wicked for people who are so highly privileged, who are the wealthiest people in the country to still be sucking our blood dry by collecting these things which they don’t need and depriving others of them.
“I know that worse exists, which has not been detected. I didn’t say what the minority leader, majority leader, deputy Senate president and Senate president get as extras. They run into hundreds of millions. What I said at that lecture is a tip of the iceberg. We’re going to do further thorough research on this matter, and we’re still going to come out with figures.
“What we’re aiming for is for the National Assembly to admit that they’re frittering away our national assets and funds and therefore preventing them from being used for the other vital sectors, to create more employment, to fix our infrastructure. If you recall, the former Governor of Central Bank said they were consuming virtually one quarter, 25 per cent of our budget. They didn’t deny it.”