by Oge Okonkwo
The former minister of education and immediate past vice-president of the World Bank (Africa), Obiageli Ezekwesili, has said she is prepared to appear before a public hearing to defend her surprised revelation that from 2005 to 2013, the National Assembly had received over N1 trillion from the federal purse.
In a statement made available yesterday to newsmen, Mrs. Ezekwesili said “I shall make myself available to the National Assembly as soon as it decides to host a public hearing on this (N1trillion) and other related issues of the lawmakers’ interest,”.
Ezekwesili specified that the data in question was a publicly available information from the Ministry of Finance, which shows that the allocations to the National Assembly known as Statutory Transfers between 2005 and 2013 were approximately N1trillion as follows: 2005, N54.79billion; 2006, N 54.79billion; 2007, N 66.4billion; 2008, N114.39billion; 2009, N158.92billion; 2010, N150billion); 2011, N150billion; 2012, N150billion and 2013, N150billion.
“I also provided information available in a recent global comparison of legislators’ remuneration across the world recently published by the United Kingdom- based The Economist magazine. I stated that the report alleged that Nigerian federal legislators with a basic salary of $189,500 per annum (N30.6m) were the highest paid lawmakers in the world!
“In reaction to various versions of news media report of my speech, a number of members of the House of Representatives and Senators, speaking as spokesmen of the National Assembly and perhaps without the benefit of my full speech, strangely chose to haul verbal assaults and threats at me,” Ezekwesili noted.