By Levinus Nwabughiogu
A federal government delegate to the ongoing national conference and human rights lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has said that his N4 million monthly allowance will go to charity and other destitute homes.
“Whilst commending my good friends, Olisa Agbakoba, SAN, and Pastor Tunde Bakare for rejecting their own monthly take home of the alleged 12m allowance at the national conference, my own approach will be quite different. I will collect the money and distribute it to the less privileged and needy members of the society, the holoi- poloi, the vast majority of the “Frantz Fanon’s of the wretched of the earth” that populate the nooks and crannies of Nigeria”, Ozekhome stated in a release yesterday.
Advancing more reasons for his decision, Ozekhome said ” I will not agree to further enrich the federal government of Nigeria by returning my conference allowance. For one thing, the money has already been appropriated and released from government coffer.”
He added that if the money was returned, ” the skewed Nigerian system where corruption is very rife suggests that the money can develop “wings” and fall into wrong hands within government bureaucracy by simply “flying” away,” stressing that he would not have the means to know if it got into the federation account.
In another controversial dimension, the constitution lawyer submitted that contrary to the much touted 4 million allowance, the actual amount paid to delegates as monthly allowance was approximately N3m.
“It has so far been touted in the media that a “whooping” N4 million per amounting to N12m for the 3 months duration of the national conference, will be paid to each delegate across board.
“From the alert from my bank, this is entirely untrue. The sum of N1,460,000 was paid in representing two weeks allowance. Calculated prorarata, this amounts to N2,920,000 per month.
“If we take this as net and assume that 10% was deducted for VAT and TAX, this will still bring the gross monthly take home to be 3,212,000. If the deduction for Tax and VAT constitutes 5% of the gross, then the monthly net take home is N3,066,000. Either way, the take home per delegate is more like N3 million, and not the exaggerated N4million,” Ozekhome explained.