Nigerian Senators Receive N218 Million as “Holiday” Allowance


In a recent development, Nigerian senators were reported to have received a total of N218 million as allowances for their upcoming vacation period. Senate President Godswill Akpabio informed the senators on Monday that funds had been deposited into their accounts to enable them to enjoy their holiday break.

Each serving senator was granted an allowance of no less than N2 million before embarking on a seven-week vacation, according to a report from PREMIUM TIMES.

A senator, who chose to remain anonymous due to the upper house’s non-authorization for discussing the matter, confirmed that all 109 senators were provided with the holiday allowance. This holiday period commenced on Monday and will conclude on September 26.

A calculation by PREMIUM TIMES revealed that the senators collectively received N218 million, with each senator obtaining N2 million to facilitate their vacation.

Bank notifications indicating the deposit were received by the senators on August 8, just prior to Senate President Godswill Akpabio’s announcement.

Senate President Akpabio made the announcement during a session, stating, “To ensure that we all have an enjoyable holiday, a modest amount has been transferred to our individual accounts by the Clerk of the National Assembly.” This statement was made shortly after the screening and confirmation of ministerial nominees.

However, Akpabio’s announcement was met with immediate response from his colleagues, who informed him that he was speaking on live television. Recognizing the potential controversy of his statement, Akpabio promptly retracted it and restated his message, indicating that he had sent prayers to the senators’ email accounts to ensure their safe journeys and return.

There remains some uncertainty regarding whether the presiding officers, including the senate president and the deputy senate president, also received N2 million each. Discrepancies in salaries and allowances between these officers and other senators have raised questions about the fairness of the allocation.

Additionally, the legality of the N2 million allowance has been called into question, as the remuneration package approved by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation, and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) does not include provisions for such an allowance. The package, which outlines salaries and allowances for public servants, only includes a “recess” allowance, which is equivalent to 10% of the annual basic salary and is paid once a year.

It has been speculated that the N2 million allowances may have been drawn from the N70 billion allocated to the National Assembly in the amended 2022 supplementary budget. Despite this allocation, President Bola Tinubu’s proposal to allocate additional funds to support the working conditions of new members was quickly approved.

This recent announcement by Akpabio has elicited strong reactions from the public, particularly in light of ongoing economic challenges and the removal of petroleum subsidies. Critics have questioned the Senate’s ability to address corruption and contribute to economic development. However, Akpabio clarified that his statement about “Let The Poor Breathe” was aimed at opposing electricity tariff hikes during difficult economic times.

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