By Tordue Salem – Abuja
The majority leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, has that less than two percent of the nation’s annual budget goes to the National Assembly and all its agencies.
Doguwa, who disclosed this while addressing the board of Civil Society and Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), who paid him a working visit in his office on Thursday, said the wrong narrative about the salaries and allowances of members of the legislature should be corrected.
He said out of the N128 billion allocated to the National Assembly in the 2021 budget, just a little of it goes into salaries and allowances of lawmakers, as there are other agencies and bureaucracies within the national Assembly.
“Out of this N128 billion allocated to the National Assembly, you have the central management, you have the House and Senate managements, you have the National Assembly Service Commission, you have the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) and the National Assembly Budget and Research Office (NABRO) who all take from this money.
“Just as we need you to supervise and check what we do, also try to help us correct this negative and wrong narrative that’s out there.
He compared what goes to the education and defense ministries, with what goes to the legislature, saying that lawmakers and the bureaucracies working with them get just a fraction of what both sectors take combined.
“When you calculate what agencies under education and the ministry itself got in the 2021 budget, it’s over N1 trillion. And then you look at the defense ministry which got the highest amount. If you compare them to what the National Assembly got, you will realise that it is nothing in comparison”, Doguwa’s said.
Doguwa also spoke on the current crisis arising from the EndSars protest across the country saying that the youth should give peace a chance and allow the National Assembly to take measures that will bring lasting solutions to their concerns.
“Let me also address the Nigerian people on the current issue that’s going on. What is happening on our streets is worrisome and many leaders have spoken about this.
“The National Assembly has been speaking and working through motions and resolutions on this because we have all the demands made and we have spoken to the executive on this same demands and work is ongoing to implement them.
“Some of our legislation is quite defective, some of them are obnoxious and we need to update them. Even the drafters of the constitution did not envisage some of the things that are happening now.
“When SARS was formed, I’m sure the founders never thought it would turn out this way. So let us come together and articulate the ills we seek to correct as a people. Where we need to work on the constitution, we will work on the constitution.
“So CISLAC, these are some of the areas you need to look into in your civic responsibility as a civil society organization, and we will also look into the areas of collaboration and improvement that you have noted”, Doguwa said.
Earlier, the executive director of CISLLAC, Awal Musa Rafsanjani, who led the delegation told the House Leader that his organization is not unmindful of efforts being made by the National Assembly leadership to correct many of the anomalies bedevilling Nigeria as a country.
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“The National Assembly we know is determined and ready to work with executives to find a lasting solution to the current problems that the nation is facing.
“And the level of corruption and decay that we have, we are confident that the National Assembly will create a legislative framework that will curb the anomalies hindering the success of the fight against corruption and the overall development of our country.
“We saw that you passed the EFCC Act, the ICPC Act and other legislation aimed at fighting corruption, and we hope that you collaborate more with the executive in the fight against corruption even if it means amending some of the existing laws.
“On the issue of job creation, most Nigerians are not satisfied with the way job vacancies are announced and filled. There are instances where people say jobs are sold to the highest bidders or those with godfathers, and we hope that the National Assembly will look into these allegations and investigate with a view to addressing it so that young and qualified graduates can have equal opportunities to be gainfully employed.
“We want to believe that this relationship with CISLAC and the House should be consolidated so that we can amplify and support programmes that you initiate in your various constituencies”, the CISLAC boss said.
The team also presented a publication of the Centre, informing the House leader that it wishes to establish a civic and leadership training centre where young Nigerians can be educated on the workings and roles of the legislature.