Jumbo Pay: I'll Cut Down National Assembly Salaries - Buhari

Source: SAINT MUGAGA. - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, AUGUST 31, (THEWILL) - Former head of state and presidential aspirant on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari has promised to champion a downward review of the salaries and allowances of legislators in the National and States Assembly if elected as president in the 2011 general elections.

He said his government would not tolerate a situation whereby public officials enjoy jumbo allowances whereas the state of infrastructure across the country remains dilapidated and appalling.

Buhari who disclosed this in a recent interview with the Nigerian Village Square team, also reiterated his resolve to run a zero tolerant government that would fight indiscipline and corruption to its roots.

According to the no-nonsense General, the institution responsible for determining salaries and allowances of legislators would be compelled to take a second look at the emoluments being enjoyed by the lawmakers presently adding that the process will evolve democratically.

"The same institution will have to be asked to review it and this must be given a lot of publicity which Nigerians will support what our government will do if we are elected to make sure that money realized which should go for social service, get industries up, infrastructure, should not be given to the people in the National Assembly and their counterparts in the 36 states of the federation.

"So I think this is a very serious issue, and it has been topical here, back at home and I think it will form part of the election campaign manifesto, which will be really articulated and sold to the public. There must be some decency in the amount of money public officers are paid. We can't just sit here and allow public officers to just share our revenue and kill all social services.

"That is not how to rule the nation and I believe that whoever eventually becomes a member of the national and state assemblies should accept a downward review of payments and allowances", Genera Buhari stated.

Reeling out his agenda on how to eliminate corruption in the system, the CPC Presidential hopeful assured that "Our time would be zero tolerance for corruption, as you said, and we will also fight against indiscipline. Indiscipline and corruption are the two great problems in Nigeria, and I think it has gotten to a level where Nigerians are fed up and really want a change. They want leadership. They want transparency. They want accountability".

Buhari lamented that "corruption has become institutionalized and cutting it down is going to be quite painful, but I assure you that it has to be done because, resources of the country must be judiciously used for social services. There is no point allowing people to take the money out of the country and leave the country high and dry.

"I believe we will get the cooperation of all Nigerians to ensure that the Police, the EFCC, the ICPC should do their job. They should be constitutionally ready to do their jobs. I believe they are well staffed. They are being well funded. And also the police, there has to be retraining, re-equipping and seriousness should be encouraged by promotion and those that crime persists in their area of responsibility should be in position to answer for their inefficiencies."

He explained that the first step towards instilling discipline and fighting corruption in Nigeria is to strengthen institutions of government particularly, the security agencies and the judiciary. "And these are what we are going to give Nigerians, God willing. What we would do is to make the institutions functional, especially the police, the civil service and other agencies and the judiciary, because our constitution and other regulations are comprehensive enough and the people understand it. The problem is the execution, and what I am saying is that it is going to be a question of time."

The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) Presidential candidate in the 2007 general elections promised that his government would create a conducive environment for the peaceful co-existence of Nigerians and other inhabitants of the nation. He stressed that his administration would take the issue of security very serious and ensure that armed robbery, kidnapping and other sundry crimes are reduced to a minimal level.