by Chi Ibe
ny Chi Ibe
Get ready, another government scandal may be on its way as in 14 days, the Federal government plans to release full details of earnings from the National Assembly.
The report will include details of the salary, emoluments, and allowances received by its members between 2007 and 2011.
Justice B.B. Aliyu gave the ruling, on Monday, in a suit filed by Legal Defense and Assistance Project (LEDAP), a non-governmental organisation.
In giving his ruling, Aliyu disagreed with the National assembly lawyer saying the payments are of public interest since they were made from public funds.
Aliyu’s ruling is a clear distinction from that made by Yetunde Idowu of a Lagos High Court. Idowu had ruled that salaries and allowances of lawmakers were personal information, and not covered under the FOI act; in a suit filed by an NGO against the Lagos State House of Assembly.
According to reports, Nigerian lawmakers are considered the highest paid lawmakers in the world each Senator believed to be getting a quarterly sum of N45million and each member of the lower house, N36million. These sums are outside of their legally approved salaries and allowances.
Chino Obiagwu, counsel to LEDA, said his client would not relent until all the illegal allowances collected by lawmakers between 2007 and 2011 were returned.
“Legislators are those who made the law on how much each public officer should be paid in salary and allowances.” Obiagwu said. “They are liable to refund any excess money collected beyond approved sum, and we will pursue this issue in the courts until all unlawful overpayments to the legislators of the 6th Assembly are repaid to public coffers.”