Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has threatened to sue the 8th National Assembly to court, if it fails to slash the “bogus” salaries and allowances they earn. However, he admits it will be easier to do if the president-elect Muhammadu Buhari led by example and reduce the allocation of the presidential villa.
“It will be very easy easy for the President-elect, Maj-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to compel the National Assembly to slash their bogus emolument, if only he first sets the example. If he first cuts down the budget account of the Presidential Villa, the lawmakers will fall in place. For instance if the budget of the Villa is N5 billion and he cuts it down to N500 million, no one needs to tell the national assembly members to toe the same line,” Agbakoba said at a news conference in Lagos, on Friday.
“The problem in Nigeria is professional politics, where the lawmakers say, the executive allocates bogus emolument to themselves, why shouldn’t we do same. But if the President is living above board and transparent, he will have the political authority to get lawmakers to behave, because he is the one who controls the budget even though you appropriate it.”
Speaking further, the lawyer said: “I am actually preparing a case to go to court to challenge the National Assembly on the unconstitutional allowances, and for the court to also declare that the national assembly legislators are only part-time, since the 1999 constitution stipulates that the Legislature should operate for 180 days of the 365 days in a year.”
“If we want things to work in this country, the role doesn’t only rest in the President. Civil societies also have a role to play. What we haven’t seen in Nigeria is a President who is willing to run the country towards a new order. Who are even these legislators, how many are they? They are about 500. So, they can’t continue in the context of dwindling economy, to eat up 25 percent of our resources. It doesn’t make sense,” he said.