Contrary to the general insinuation that members of the National Assembly always go home with JUMBO pays every month, the legislative aides actually take salaries more than Senators and Reps members combined together.
AFRIPOST gathered that, the proposed National Assembly budget for the year 2017, shows that, the legislative aides would be collecting as much as N8,917,127,214 for the year under review.
This amount, according to analysis, is more than double of what the Honourable Members of House of Representatives got for the year, even though, that of the Senators is also more than thrice less than the Reps’ allocation.
In the proposed budget, the 360 Honourable members of the Reps would take home, a cumulative sum of N4,923,743,127 for the whole year, while the 109 Senators would take home a meagre sum of N1, 856,510,517 as salaries for the year 2017.
Though the overhead cost for the legislative aides was drastically reduced to about N500m, with that of Reps members as much as N39bn and Senators N25bn; some legislative aides have argued that, it was strategically appropriated for, to continue to deny them of their allowances and other emoluments.
Recall that, the management of the National Assembly has not paid the Duty Tour Allowances (DTAs) and other allowances entitlements to legislative aides since year 2015.
This has prompted the decision of the aides to embark on protest, to press home their demand; the decision which didn’t go down well with the management.
One of the arrowheads in the proposed civil action, Mr. Olutoye Ibitoye, was reportedly arrested last week by the DSS attached to the National Assembly complex, and was later released, with a caution not to go ahead with the planned protest.
Some legislative aides who spoke to this newspaper on condition of anonymity, claimed that, “with the meagre provision for overhead in the proposed budget, the management appears not ready to clear our outstanding allowances.
“It also appears that, the management didn’t plan for staff trainings and other human development projects this year.”
Meanwhile, alot of aides to the lawmakers have raised serious concern over the provision of N150m for capital projects for them in the year 2017.
They queried the rationale behind the said amount and wished it was added to the overhead cost, to attend to the avalanche of outstanding allowances and other claims.
“The management should explain what they mean by N150m for capital projects. Which projects? Do legislative aides undertake capital projects? I don’t understand, let the management come out on this,” one of the aides posited.
When contacted, a House of Reps member representing Makurdi/Guma, Hon. Dickson Tarkighir, said it was possible for the legislative aides to have more personnel cost than the lawmakers, because of their population.
Tarkighir, who is a member of the Appropriation Committee which coordinated the 2017 Appropriation Bill, said, each lawmaker was entitled to 5 aides, whereas, the Principal Officers of both chambers were entitled to more than 5 aides.
“For instance, the 360 Honourable members would be having about 1800 aides working under them, while the 109 Senators should have about 545 staff. This is a total of 2,345 legislative aides in both chambers.
“Meanwhile, there are 10 Principal Officers of the House of Representatives whose aides are more than other members, and also 10 Principal officers of the Senate who have more than 5 aides. When you work out the calculations, you would see the justification for the N8bn on the budget for aides,” the Lawmaker said.
Hon. Tarkighir also revealed that, some of the aides are on levels 15-17, who are also on same salary cadre with their peers in the civil service of the federal government.
He, however, declined comments on the sum of N150m appropriated for capital projects for legislative aides in the 2017 budget.