SERAP urge court to stop NASS N4.68bn ‘welcome package’
Concerned Nigerians, including the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, BudgIT and Enough is Enough Nigeria, EiE, have filed a lawsuit asking the Federal High Court to “restrain, prevent and stop the National Assembly Service Commission from paying the incoming members of the 9th National Assembly individually and/or collectively over N4.68 billion as ‘welcome package’.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit. SERAP, BudgIT and EiE, suing for themselves and on behalf of 1,522 concerned Nigerians, stated that: “The Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, has failed to do any downward review of salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly since 2007 in spite of the economic downturn in Nigeria.
Yet, the commission is statutorily required to review the pay of the lawmakers, in conformity with the country’s economic realities and to achieve fiscal efficiency.” In the suit number FHC/L/CS/943/2019 filed last Friday before the Federal High Court in Lagos, the plaintiffs argued: “Given many years of extreme poverty in the country, and the inability of several state governments to pay salaries of workers and pensions, the refusal or failure of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission to review and cut the salaries and allowances of members of the National Assembly is a gross violation of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) and the commission’s own Act.”
Joined as defendants, in the suit are the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, National Assembly Service Commission and Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC. The suit read in part: “Unless the reliefs sought by the plaintiffs are granted, the defendants and members of the National Assembly will continue to benefit from these outrageous salaries and allowances, in breach of the law and at the expense of millions of Nigerians living in extreme poverty.
“The amounts budgeted as payment for furniture and accommodation allowance to members of the 9th National Assembly negates the oath of office under the Seventh Schedule of the 1999 Constitution by members to perform their functions in the interest of the well-being and prosperity of Nigeria.