Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana, in a lecture he delivered yesterday at the investiture of Mr. Dele Ojogbede as President of Rotary Club, Ikoyi in Lagos, said, it is illegal for former governors, who have been placed on life pension in their states, to also earn salaries in the National Assembly. He also said that lawmakers should not be paid their full salaries and allowances if they don’t sit for the mandatory 181 days before going on a seven-month recess.
Falana counselled the Federal Government on what to do with those undermining the anti-corruption war.
In regards to former governors in the Senate, Falana said:
“It is high time the Federal Government stopped the payment of salaries and allowances to former governors who are in the senate. Since they are on pension for life, it is illegal to continue to pay them salaries and allowances at the same time.”
He added that none of the 469 lawmakers in the National Assembly had justification for the entitlements they collected in the first legislative year under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“The APC-led National Assembly has also engaged in collecting jumbo emoluments for services not rendered to the nation. “Whereas Section 63 of the Constitution provides that the Senate and the House of Representatives shall each sit for not less than 181 days in a year, Section 68 thereof states that any legislator who fails to attend the proceedings of the Senate for less than one third of the required number of days shall automatically lose his or her seat.
“For the first legislative year which ended on June 9, the Seventh session of the National Assembly did not meet the constitutional requirement. Specifically, due to incessant recesses, the House of Representatives sat for only 104 days while the Senate sat for 96 days. This means that the Senate sat for barely 50 per cent of the required sitting period.
“Indeed, some of the senators who had to attend criminal courts where they are standing trial for corrupt practices did not seat for up to 70 days throughout the legislative year. The Senate was actually shut down on a number of occasions to enable the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki to attend the proceedings of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) where he is standing trial for false declaration of assets. And in solidarity with him, a number of senators abandoned their duties to accompany him to the tribunal.
“Since the labour policy of “no work no pay” is applicable to all public officers the legislators ought not to have been paid when they did not perform any legislative duty. “In other words, having failed to sit for the mandatory period of 181 days the legislators were not entitled to payment of and allowances for the whole legislative year.
“Having been paid full emoluments when they failed to sit for the required number of days, the legislators ought to refund some money to the treasury.
“In the circumstance, the Accountant-General of the Federation should ensure that the legislators are made to refund the money collected for the number of days they failed to sit in the National Assembly.”
Source: The Nation