Saraki Replies Obasanjo’s Letter, Pledges To Plug Leakages In National Assembly
SAN FRANCISCO, March 02, (THEWILL) –T he Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has formally replied a letter written to the National Assembly on January 13 by former President Olusegun Obasanjo wherein federal lawmakers were accused of corruption, greed, lawlessness and impunity.
The Senate President, in the two-page response dated January 29 and exclusively obtained by Premium Times, addressed concerns raised in the former President’s letter by assuring that the National Assembly he leads was already taking deliberate steps to strengthen the country's democratic institutions and ensure prudent management of resources.
According to him, “This is to ensure that we plug all leakages and minimize waste across our expenditure systems.
“Likewise, the 8th National Assembly has made the issue of plugging leakages and cutting wastages in our public expenditure system a major priority that should not be toyed with. This may have happened in the past but it will not happen with us.”
It would be recalled that Obasanjo had in his letter, addressed to Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, accused the lawmakers of fixing and earning salaries and allowances far above what was approved for them by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.
He also alleged that most of the 109 senators and 369 members of the House of Representatives were receiving constituency allowances without maintaining constituency offices as the laws required of them.
While faulting the plans by the lawmakers to acquire new exotic cars for themselves as “unnecessary and insensitive,” he advised that “a pool of a few cars for each chamber will suffice for any Committee Chairman or members for any specific duty.”
Obasanjo wrote that “The waste that has gone into cars, furniture, housing renovation in the past was mind-boggling and these were veritable sources of waste and corruption. That was why they were abolished. Bringing them back is inimical to the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians.”
But Saraki, in his response, told the former President that the lawmakers were fully aware of the challenges confronting the nation, assuring that “As leaders with a duty, we will not disappoint Nigerians in their yearnings for a more transparent public expenditure system.”
Saraki, who stated that the National Assembly was working with President Muhammadu Buhari to stem the tide of corruption in the country, disclosed that the legislature was already overhauling its oversight functions to make it more effective in exposing corruption in federal ministries, departments and agencies.
“We are hand in glove with the president on this matter and this is why we are overhauling our oversight functions to make it more effective in exposing corruption in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies,” the Senate President wrote, adding that “We recognize the hard work our anti-corruption agencies are putting into this fight.
“The Senate is resolved to support them to perform their duty effectively by providing them with adequate funding where necessary, as their work in integral to our oversight responsibility.”