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Anti Hate Speech Bill or Focus on Issues That Matter to Nigerians:Close-up Margins of Terminal Positions' Salaries

By Comrade Kana Sani
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*Anti Hate Speech Bill or Focus on Issues That Matter to Nigerians: Close-up Margins of Terminal Positions' Salaries*

November 16, 2019
MAJA Presidential Candidate Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies, speaks at a lecture on Saturday 16th. November to a Topic she titled: *"Maximum Wage as from 2020: Close-up Margins of Terminal Positions' Salaries in Nigeria* rather than muting Anti Hate Speech with Death Penalty by Hanging"; while she was lecturing the pioneering students of Prof. Nyenwegwe Ezekiel University (PNEU) Christian Judicial Institution (CJI), Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in a series, in preparation for their first convocation.

The 2019 MAJA Presidential Candidate, Funmilayo Adesanya-Davies, has called on civil servants and civil society organisations and all well meaning Nigerians to call for seminars, colloquiums, meet and strategize and co-ordinate and protest against what she called, "looting the nation with giant armed robbery salaries and allowances by robbery squared senators," in the country. She said, "there was no way the country could sustain the type of money being received by the lawmakers and there is no such practice any where else in the world, and as such, the practise must be stopped."

The Don said, "In the educational sector, for instance, a Professor in Nigeria earns according to the Nigerian salary survey, from N4,508,349 to N6,020,163 per annum. A Reader's salary in Nigeria starts from N3,091,221 per annum, reaching up to N4,455,506 in some Universities." That's the much being paid after over 30 to 45 years of raising everyone as their students.

At another instance, she stated, "Nigerian army salary structure & rank 2019/2020 salary monthly structure, from the commission officers of the Nigerian army is as follows:

Major General: N950,000, Brigadier General: N750,000

Lt. General: N1 million, General: N1.5 million per month.

A Brigadier General gets promoted to the rank of a Major General and he starts taking home up to N950,000 every month. The next rank after Major General is that of a Lt. General and this shoots his salary up to N1 million."

However, the unbelievable armed-robbery salary of Nigerian Senators would leave us all in tears and perhaps dumbfounded; because, according to Professor Itse Sagay, "a Nigerian senator earns *over three billion naira per annum*" - To represent a people that is poverty-stricken; priding themselves as one of the highest paid in the world. Simply put and to be specific, here is a breakdown of a Nigerian Senators monthly salary as rightly stated:

Basic salary N2,484,245.50
Hardship allowance 1,242, 122.70
Constituency allowance N4, 968, 509.00
Furniture allowance N7, 452, 736.50
Newspaper allowance N1, 242, 122.70
Wardrobe allowance N621,061.37
Recess allowance N248, 424.55
Accommodation N4,968,509.00
Utilities N828,081.83
Domestic staff N1,863,184.12
Entertainment N828,081.83
Personal assistant N621,061.37
Vehicle maintenance allowance N1,863,184.12
Leave allowance N248,424.55
Severance gratuity N7,425,736.50
Motor vehicle allowance N9,936,982.00
Furthermore, of recent, we read the newspaper headline: "469 Members Of The National Assembly To Receive N4.68bn As Welcome Package." According to this news, "Each senator is entitled to a combined furniture and accommodation allowance of N10,132,000 on assumption of office. While the accommodation allowance of a senator is N4,052,800, the furniture allowance is N6,079,200." Thus, "Four hundred and sixty-nine lawmakers who were elected on the platform of various political parties in the February 23 National Assembly elections and the subsequent supplementary election will get N4.68bn as welcome package immediately after their inauguration in June."

The Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission adds that accommodation and furniture allowances were two of the irregular entitlements of lawmakers and other political office holders. “Thus, each member of the House of Representatives on resumption, therefore, is entitled to N9.926, 062.5, according to the prescription of the RMAFC in its Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders 2007 to Date.

To be detailed: "this is the summation of furniture allowance of N5,955,637.5 and accommodation allowance of N3, 970,425 which a House of Representatives member is entitled to. Therefore, the 360 lawmakers that will make up the House of Representatives inaugurated in June 2019 will be entitled to accommodation and furniture allowances of N3.57bn."

"On the other hand, each senator is entitled to a combined furniture and accommodation allowance of N10,132,000 on assumption of office. While the accommodation allowance of a senator is N4,052,800, the furniture allowance is N6,079,200. As such, the 109 senators making up the 9th. National Assembly will receive a total of N1.1bn as the red chamber opens in June altogether."

"For motor vehicles, each of the senators is entitled to N8, 105,600 while each member of the House of Representatives is entitled to N7, 940,850.50. The allowance for motor vehicles had been controversial in the past. According to RMAFC, this allowance payable once in four years is a loan and is optional."

"Apart from these irregular allowances, there are other regular perks of office that are paid to lawmakers on a monthly basis. These include motor vehicle maintenance and fuelling. This is pegged at 75 percent of their monthly salary. Others are personal assistant – 25 per cent; domestic staff – 75 per cent; entertainment – 30 per cent; utilities – 30 per cent; newspapers/periodicals – 15 per cent; wardrobe – 25 per cent; house maintenance – five per cent; and constituency – 250 per cent. "

"There are other entitlements that they are not paid to them directly but provided and paid for by the government. These are for their special assistants, security and legislative aides. What this means is that those in this capacity are paid directly by the government as the allowances cannot be claimed by political office holders. These allowances apply to senators and Reps. Medical expenses are also borne by the government when they have a need for health services."

"The lawmakers are also entitled to tour duty allowance, estacode (when they travel) and recess allowances. For a senator, the tour duty allowance is N37, 000 per night; the estacode is $950 per night and the recess allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary. For a member of the House of Representatives, the tour duty allowance is N35, 000 per night; the estacode is $900 per night and the recess allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary."

Who has done this to Nigeria and Nigerians! It's not surprising, that a former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, had called on Nigerians to wage war against members of the 9th. National Assembly and demand that they cut their salaries and allowances. Many states are finding it difficult to pay salaries. Moreover, “When in August 2017, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo described Nigerian senators as “unarmed robbers,” some of them who prefer foolishness to reasoning replied him with insults; without asking themselves if it is ideal, for the so-called people’s representatives to receive a whopping sum of N29million monthly when over 75% of the country’s population gropes in poverty."

A non-governmental organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, decried lawmakers’ huge pay sometimes, saying "it was one of the reasons the nation’s growth had remain stunted." Of course, according to the principles of democracy, the legislative arm of government is supposed to be the people's representative, having the people at heart in everything they do, which includes decision making and implementation of laws. The people's needs, pains and reality, are supposed to be their concern as legislators, as they are supposed to be 'the people in government'. But in Nigeria, it is not the case and this would need to end soon, and very, very soon.

It's time to fight corruption, it time to bring about the law to be passed, it's for Nigerians to sponsor the Bill and bring an end to this senseless spending, in place of the ANTI HATE SPEECH BILL. This is playing a huge role in this game of democratic fraud, how come it has become impossible for them to move a motion of "Death Sentence" for corrupt politicians? "The high rate of unemployment in our country is fearful. Yet, amidst all these, the representatives of the people in government choose to enrich themselves without thinking of those they claim to represent, muting ANTI HATE SPEECH BILL."

“The uncontrolled, unreasonable salary and allowances as in the case of Senators earnings in Nigeria, the absence of strategy and remedy to tackle this as a major problem which continued to enable the looting to eat deep into the fabric of the economy of our society,” the Don said , she condemns “the level of discrepancies in salaries” by government ever since, saying it “it is most uncalled for.”

As Comrade Jonathan Vatsa said, "if the money meant for constituency projects are utilized for the purpose it was meant for and the people begin to see dividends of democracy, there will be no need for hate speech. The creation of 36 cemeteries or graveyards in the 36 States Nigeria for hate speech victims would therefore be unnecessary."

Again, for "An Anti Hate Speech Bill, with punishment of death by hanging, the contemplation of such laws is in itself not just hate speech, but an abuse of the legislative process that will violate Nigerians’ constitutionally guaranteed right to Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Speech was not just bestowed to Nigerians by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,1999 (as amended), it is also a divine right given to all men by their Creator." - as Atiku rightly puts it. The senators should rather face this, settle us, and leave HATE SPEECH first to a *"MAXIMUM WAGE: Closing-up Margins of Terminal Positions' Salaries Bill"* for the love of Country!