Some Legislative Aides to the Federal Lawmakers, have written a petition to the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, accusing the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, of diverting funds appropriated to them.
They also asked the EFCC Chairman, to bring the culprits to book and ensure the prompt payment of their allowances.
Also copied in the letter is President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, Director General of the State Security Services, Yusuf Bichi, and the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC, Bolaji Owansanoye.
They accused them of complicity in the management of the Legislative Aides’ accounts.
In the petition, they explained that Aides are employed on a short-term basis, and entitled to allowances as applicable to other public servants and a severance package of 300 percent of their annual basic salary, at the end of the four-year tenure of their principals.
Part of the allowance, they said, is the Duty Tour Allowance, DTA.
“Each SLA from Level 15 to 17 is entitled to the sum of N100,000, while other category of Aides receives the sum of N75,000 every quarter as DTA allowances. In essence, each Aide is entitled to between N300,000 and N400,000 yearly, as DTAs.
“We are also entitled to be trained four times yearly, which was later compressed into twice a year. At the end of each training, each Aide is entitled to a honorarium of N50,000, making a yearly total of N100,000”, part of the letter read.
They said that of the 13 quarters DTA owed to Legislative Aides of the 8th Assembly, since June 2015, only two quarters have been paid, adding that, there has been no training activities for the past three and half years, despite the budgetary allocations for these items, “which were neither used for the said activities, nor were they returned to government coffers as unused funds.
“The non-payment of these accumulated legitimate entitlements, has turned Legislative Aides into Legislative Slaves. We have been pauperized to the extent that we are unable to meet our financial obligations, like payment of school fees, hospital bills, house rents, debt serving, putting us into several embarrassing situations.”Sponsored Content
The Aides praised the past Senate Presidents, for reportedly ensuring the payments of such allowances, and accused the present Leadership of fraud.
“It is pertinent to point that past Senate Presidents, including Evans Enwerem, Chuba Okadigbo, Adolphus Nwagbara, Pius Anyim, Ken Nnamani, and David Mark, were all diligent in ensuring that Legislative Aides receive their appropriated DTAs and training allowances.
“We are hereby alleging criminal diversion of these yearly appropriated legitimate entitlements by the Senate President and Chairman of the National Assembly, Senator Bukola Saraki, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, and the Clerk of the National Assembly, Alhaji Sani Omolori, because of their complicity in the management of the Legislative Aides account”, they said.
The Aides added that all avenues employed in appealing to Saraki, Dogara, and Omolori, were unsuccessful, hence the last recourse to the petition.
In a swift reaction however, Saraki’s Spokesperson, Yusuf Olaniyonu, insisted that the Senate President has nothing to do with the salaries and allowances of Legislative Aides.
He explained that payment of the Aides is controlled by the “Management Committee” of the National Assembly, and that the Aides are speaking ignorantly.
“The salaries and allowances of National Assembly Aides including me, is handled by the people they call the Management Committee, which is headed by the Clerk, like the bureaucracy of the National Assembly. The Senate President does not have anything to do with it. In fact, I attended a meeting he held with them the other day, and he told them, “I do not know a single thing about your salaries and allowances.”
“They have paid my salary now, and he does not even know. My letter of employment is issued by the Clerk, my ID Card is signed by the Clerk. My salary is paid by the Clerk; I do not collect my salary from the Senate President.
“Funds that come into the National Assembly, come under various headings. If it is Senate, it goes to the Clerk of the Senate who then, administers it there. The one for House of Reps. goes to House of Reps. Then the one for management goes to the entire staff, both political and bureaucratic.
“Even if he was not my boss, I cannot accuse him of diverting funds, because he does not have anything to do with my salary and allowance. They are speaking ignorantly”, he said.