Monday, July 27, 2015

Nigerian Lawmakers and their Jumbo-Sized Allowances

Nigerian lawmakers are known to gorge off the fat of the land, so it came as a surprise that Nigerians were bewildered and disgusted by the 9 billion naira ($45,000,000) in allowances conferred by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) on the recently inaugurated 8th National Assembly lawmakers.

Following public backlash, lawmakers absolved themselves, claiming they had no involvement in setting their salaries and allowances as that responsibility lay solely with the RMAFC.

But that statement in itself is a weak excuse.

If lawmakers believe they are being paid exorbitantly, nothing stops them from passing laws to cap their remunerations. But then again, no sane person votes against their economic interest, and such a feat would require several Mother Teresas, who are obviously absent in the National Assembly.

While Nigerians are right to scream blue murder at the ridiculousness of the allowances, the pertinent question should be whether lawmakers, who are servants of the public, deserve the outrageous salary they earn.

Lest we forget, the last National Assembly spent the last four years passing only ten per cent of 1063 bills, and it’s been said some lawmakers, during their tenure, never sponsored any bills. So it begs the question: What are we paying lawmakers for? And why wasn’t their salary and allowances drastically slashed to mirror Nigeria’s current financial plight?

The simple, straight-forward answer? A typical lawmaker doesn’t care about laws or their constituency. All they truly care about are their pockets and ensuring they remain stuffed.

So anyone thinking the 8th National Assembly will be any different is delusional.