by Isi Esene
Members of the House of Representatives resumed from their two-month recess on Wednesday agitating for a N7m increase in their quarterly allowances.
The members are currently enjoying N27m per quarter as allowances but want it increased to N35m.
There are unconfirmed reports that some of the lawmakers raised questions of impropriety against the leadership of the House to blackmail it into acceding to their demands.
They reportedly questioned how the N5m budgeted for each member’s medical expenses and insurance was utilised by the leadership of the House.
A lawmaker who did not want to be named said “transparency and accountability were the main issues discussed at the executive session.”
“There are 360 members we have funds budgeted for medical allowances and insurance. If you put aside some funds for these sub-heads, which is about N5m, we have to know how this money is being utilised,” the lawmaker said.
The Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal was said to have spent a considerable amount of time trying to convince the aggrieved members of the House leadership’s integrity and accountability in the management of the House finances.
Reports say a meeting had been originally planned for the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja today (Thursday) for members to address their misgivings against the leaders of the House but the Wednesday meeting was a pre-emptive attempt to prevent a negative escalation against Tambuwal and his team.
However, most of the House members were said to have been satisfied with the elaborate explanations done by the Speaker.
On the reports that the House is demanding a pay increase, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed denied it saying, “It is not true; there was nothing like that as far as I am concerned.”
He said the executive session deliberated on a meeting held between President Goodluck Jonathan, the President of the Senate, David Mark, and Tambuwal on Tuesday night but a pay rise was not on the agenda.