Femi Falana urges FG to review cost of governance
Says Shehu Sani discharged a public duty by ‘blowing the whistle’
Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has called for a review in the cost of governance under the democratic dispensation. He charged the current administration to ensure that no political officer should be paid salaries and allowances that is not approved by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC).
Falana, in a statement yesterday, also charged the Federal Government to halt the payment of double salary allowances to some legislators and ministers.The senior advocate, who was reacting to Sani’s disclosure that the running cost of each senator is N13.1 million in addition to a consolidated salary of N750,000 per month, noted that the disclosure validates Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Itse Sagay, that Nigerian legislators are the highest paid in the world.
He said: “For the first time since May 1999, the senator disclosed the jumbo emoluments of the members of the upper chamber of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. However, the federal legislators cannot be blamed alone for paying themselves skyrocketing salaries and allowances outside the ambit of the wages approved for all political office holders in the country.
“The members of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission empowered by Section 70 of the Constitution to approve the salaries and allowances of the legislators have always washed off their hands like Pontius Pilate while the Budget Office has never questioned the payment of unauthorised salaries and allowances to federal legislators.
“The revelation by Senator Sani should, therefore, provide an opportunity for the Nigerian people to review the entire cost of governance under the rickety democratic dispensation. The Buhari administration owes the nation a duty to ensure that no political office holder is paid salaries and allowances that have not been approved by the RMAFC.
“Sadly, it has been reported by the media that there are moves in the Senate to place Senator Shehu Sani on indefinite suspension for spilling the beans on the payment of the illegal salaries and allowances to federal legislators.
“Having discharged a public duty by blowing the whistle on a matter of crucial national importance, all lovers of democracy and public accountability in Nigeria should rally round the senator by ensuring that he is not harassed for exercising his constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental right to freedom of expression.
“In view of the duty imposed on all authorities and persons in Nigeria by virtue of Section 287 of the Constitution, to comply with the judgment of every competent court, Senator Sani cannot be penalised for disclosing the salaries and allowances of federal legislators in compliance with the valid and subsisting orders of the federal high court.”
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