A member of the House of Representatives, Abike Dadiri-Erewa, has revealed that the National Assembly will open up its books and reveal the controversial salary and emoluments of lawmakers “in its own interest.”
Mrs Dabiri-Erewa made this known at the 5th Wole Soyinka Centre media lecture series on Saturday in Lagos where she challenged the media and civil society organisations to further ask questions as she claim the National Assembly is ‘opening up’.
Reacting to the claim that Nigerian lawmakers are the highest paid in the world according to guest speaker at the lecture, Prof Biodun Jeyifo, Mrs Dabiri-Erewa declined to state her personal salary but stated that it will be in the best interest of the National Assembly to open-up.
When asked about her salary, she hinted that “I am a member of six different committees in the House of Representatives and I get less than N2million to run these committees in a month.”
According to her the annual budget of the National Assembly is N150billion while that of the Central Bank of Nigeria is N300billion.
She challenged Nigerians and the media to ask questions, maintaining that “the National Assembly is opening up and Nigerians should ask questions.”
The House chairperson on Diaspora accused the Nigerian media of a disappointing lackadaisical attitude towards the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), passed two years despite the rigours undertaken to get the bill passed and signed into law.
The politician, who moved the FOIA motion in the House of Representatives, further challenged a member of the audience who she identified as Komolafe saying, “Go to court Mr Komolafe and let me see who will not answer the FOI in the National Assembly.”
The National Assembly is currently embroiled in a legal battle, appealing the judgment of a Federal High Court which ruled in favour of a civil society group request on the publication of the lawmakers’ salary.
Reps N15million Ramadan Gifts
Reacting to another claim by Prof Jeyifo lecture’s that the Nigerian political sphere is pervaded by massive corruption and mediocrity thereby election victories are not based on performances, the journalist turned politician averred that as a lawmaker, most of constituents do not ask her about her doings on the floor of the house but rather what is she bring to the table.
“People do not ask about bills passed or motions moved, what I’m asked is: what are you bringing to the table?”
She claimed that gifts that would be given out by some of her colleagues in the House during this Ramadan period is about N15million as she traced the anomaly to loss of values in the country and misuse of people’s power to vote.
She enjoined Nigerians to use their voting power to see they desired change by electing the right candidates and defending their votes.
“Look at the people you are voting for and make up your mind on what you want” she affirmed.
By Ayo Okulaja