We'll Not Pay Suspended Lawmakers - Bankole

Source: THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com

ABUJA, Jan 25, (THEWILL) - The last is yet to be heard about the allowances of the eleven suspended members of the House of Representatives who were reinstated last month as Speaker Dimeji Bankole today said the House would not pay any monies to them.

Eight of the Eleven recalled members had in December last year got a court ruling in their favour declaring their suspension null and void and ordering the payment of all their outstanding salaries and allowances.

But at today's sitting of the House, Hon. Dino Melaye and the seven other lawmakers were told that their re-admission into the House was on compassionate ground and not based on the court judgement.

Recall that the eleven members were suspended on the 22nd of June last year following a fight that ensued in the chambers as a result of allegations of corruption against the leadership. Four lawmakers later apologised and withdrew their lawsuits against the House in return for pardon and recall.

The remaining eight however continued in court and an Abuja High Court finally cancelled their suspension and ordered their immediate reinstatement as well as payment of all their outstanding allowances.

But when Melaye raised a point of order today over the issue complaining about non-payment in compliance with the court order, the Speaker declared that since the matter was still before an appellate court, he would not entertain further mention of it to avoid being in contempt of the court.

“I will enjoin you to go and wait for the outcome of this matter which is currently before the court before you henceforth make any request for payment of your salaries and allowances. If you win in court, either at Appeal or Supreme, please fell free to collect your money,” he insisted.

Melaye had in his motion accused the leadership of the House of conspiring with the accounts department of the National Assembly to deny them their salaries and allowances said to be running to over a hundred million naira for each of the members.

He carpeted the House leadership for ensuring that only four of his members who withdrew their court cases and apologized for their agitation were all paid till last December.

According to him, “I went to the accounts department this morning only to discover again that our names have been omitted from the payroll for January which was prepared this morning. I saw the name of the Speaker on that list even though as Nigerians we have all been carrying out our legislative duties. Honourable colleagues for how long shall we continue to work on credit?” he asked.

“In the interest of peace, we call on this House to prevail on its leadership to stop this injustice once again” he warned.

Speaking at a briefing after the sitting, Chairman of the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Eseme Eyiboh confirmed that there was no ambiguity in the Speaker’s pronouncement on the matter. He said the House had appealed shortly after the judgment was delivered.