Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, has said he would donate his Federal Government allowance for the ongoing National Conference, totalling N12m, to charity.
He said he would not reject the allowances like some of his colleagues but would give it to the needy. He said this was to prevent a possible diversion of the money.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria is the third out of the 492 delegates at the conference to decline spending the money. Others are Pastor Tunde Bakare, and a former President, Nigeria Bar Association, Olisa Agbakoba, also a SAN.
The confab, which began on March 17, 2014, will last for three months. Each delegate will be paid N4m per month.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent on Friday, Falana said, “I once rejected rams and rice sent to me for Christmas by a state government but I found out that they were not returned to the sender; they were diverted by those who brought them.
“Since then, I have learnt to collect such gifts and donate them to the poor, who really need them.”
Falana stated that while a number of groups could sponsor their members; students, the physically-challenged, pensioners, workers and “other economically disadvantaged people” at the confab needed government support.
He added, “Those are the delegates who should be sponsored by the Federal Government. It does not make any economic sense to pay N12m to ex-governors, captains of industries, retired generals and other members of the national bourgeoisie.
“Why pay allowances to those who live in their own houses in Abuja or those who are accommodated in posh hotels by their state governments?
“I am aware that Pastor Tunde Bakare and Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, have announced that they would not take the allowances. That is commendable. I know both of them. They are very comfortable. In my case, I shall collect the allowances and give them to the needy.”
Falana, however, said he would consult with his colleagues in the civil society organisations, which he is representing at the confab, on the specific charity to give the money to.
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