Court bars National Assembly from fixing members’ allowances

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos says it is illegal for the National Assembly to fix its own allowances.

In what is being described as a landmark judgment, Justice Chuka Obiozor said only the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission can fix salaries for public officers.

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Obiozor delivered the judgement in a suit filed by a former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Monday Ubani.

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A former lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, had said in March 2018 that he received N13.5m allowances monthly.

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Ubani subsequently asked the court to decide if the National Assembly had the right to arbitrarily fix its allowances.

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He also asked the court to order the National Assembly members to refund such jumbo allowances received.

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The respondents in the case were the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Assembly Service Commission and the RMAFC

Justice Obiozor said no other body or person in the country shall fix salary or allowances for any officer except RMAFC and it is illegal for anyone to do otherwise. The judge, however, did not order that such allowances be refunded.

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The National Assembly, which has 469 members, had been severely criticised for operating an opaque budget and refusing to reveal the allowances of its members.

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, said Nigerian federal lawmakers are among the highest-earning lawmakers in the world.

There was no immediate reaction from the National Assembly.

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