On Monday June 25, the court granted the request of the Legal Defence and Assistance Project that the Clerk of the National Assembly calculate, collate and publicise the salaries and allowances of senators and members of the House. They did so using the newly-minted Freedom of Information Act, hoping to determine whether Nigerian lawmakers are earning too much.
The Senate responded with their compliance with the judgement on Wednesday, but the House of Reps was a little more coy with their response. They told the Punch that any comment on the judgement would be “prejudicial”. The
“We have nothing against the judgement,” the Leader of the senate, Victor Ndoma-Egba said. “We have nothing to hide. Our salaries are already public knowledge. Our salaries are fixed by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission and we will not be disclosing anything new.”
He went on to deny that anyone received so-called “jumbo salaries”, and that much of the funds went to the running of offices and supply of utilities.
The Abuja Federal High Court ordered a full calculation of their salaries and allowances from 1999 to date, a 13-year span in which there has been a ballooning of the proportion of salaries and allowances as a portion of the national budget.
The Punch reported that the chairman of the house committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed, was mum on whether the House would follow the order. He said, “Our comments will be prejudicial; we are an arm of the government and the order of the court was on a specific issue. The matter is before the court; so, we won’t commit ourselves.”
Nigerian lawmakers are reported to be some of the highest paid in the world with their salaries and allowances adding up to sums that surpass those who hold comparative positions in much wealthier countries.