Senators fight Senate President over his N250 million Quarterly Allowance

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A fresh rumble has erupted in the Senate over what has been called “a wide and unacceptable gulf” between the body of principal officers and the floor senators.

The development, according to Nigerian Tribune sources, is already generating a tense situation in the relationship between some of the senators who are in the know and the leadership of the Senate.

Sources hinted that contrary to what was generally believed to be the quarterly allocations of the principal officers, members of the body of principal officers have been taking home far bigger allocations.

It was gathered that whereas the President of the Senate is believed to be enjoying a quarterly allocation of N140 million, funds channelled to his office stand at N250 million per quarter.

The Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who is believed to be taking home N80 million per quarter, is also said to have been raking in about N150 million.

It was also gathered that eight other principal officers; the Majority Leader, Senator Teslim Folarin, the Chief Whip, Senator Mahmud Kanti Bello, Deputy Majority Leader, Senator Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Mohammed Mana, Minority Leader, Senator Mana Maaji Lawan, his deputy, Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, Minority Whip, Senator Ahmad Rufai Sani and the Deputy Minority Whip, Senator Kabiru Gaya, have been taking home  allocation in the region of N78 million per quarter, instead of N55 million that was said to have been agreed to at the beginning of the current sixth National Assembly in 2007.

Incidentally, a floor member of the Senate has been collecting N45 million per quarter since 2007.

Some members are said to be looking into the budget to discover possible areas where the excess funds are possibly being sourced.

A source isolated the different subheads quoted for Travel and Training in the 2010 budget as the possible source of funding for the alleged huge allocations.

For instance, Senate's budget for Training, Local and Foreign Tours in the 2010 budget indicates a total allocation of N6 billion.

The allocations are contained in three different overhead. The first allocation of N5.063 billion is captured under local travels and tours. Local travels and transport is put at N2.6 billion, while international travels and transport is put at N2.4 billion.

There is, however, another allocation of N640 million for travels and transport (General), which incorporates local travels and transport, put at N380 million and international travels and transport, put at N260 million.

Yet another allocation for Training (General), put at N420 million, is also accommodated in the Senate allocations. A breakdown of  this subhead includes local training, put at N230 million and international tours, put at N190 million. There is also  an allocation of N1.2 billion tagged security votes (including operations.)

Eyebrows are also being raised about the allocation of N500 million for the purchase of vehicles for Presiding  and Principal Officers, (including liaison offices) departmental utility and staff buses.

Besides the fact that the National Assembly staff are not entitled to staff buses having started enjoying monetisation allowances since 2006, there are also questions about the rationale behind the planned purchase of new vehicles for presiding officers in the third year of a four-year legislative session.

Senate spokesman, Senator Ayogu Eze, could not be reached for comments on Monday. The vice chairman of Senate Committee on Information and Media, Senator Anthony Manzo, was also unavailable for comments. Messages sent to the duo's phones went unanswered

Courtesy Nigerian Tribune