- Nigerian law makers are believed to be one of the highest paid in the world, amidst shocking level of mass poverty
- Calls are rife to change the system of governance to reduce wastage and curruption
Two prominent Nigerian human rights groups, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), have criticized plans by the Nigerian National Assembly to spend N110 billion on luxury cars and ‘palliatives’ for its members. They urged Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, to cancel this plan, failing which they would take legal action.
SERAP has requested the repeal of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act, which would reduce the National Assembly’s budget by N110 billion, reflecting the economic situation in the country and the impact of the fuel subsidy removal on impoverished Nigerians. They also suggested redirecting the N110 billion towards addressing the issue of over 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria.
The two groups expressed concern over the allocation of N70 billion as ‘support allowances’ for new lawmakers and N40 billion to purchase 465 luxury bulletproof cars, while only N500 billion is budgeted for 12 million poor Nigerians.
The groups argue that this spending plan is a breach of fiduciary duties, a violation of public trust, and a disregard of the constitutional obligations of lawmakers. They called for the funds to be redirected towards improving the conditions of poor Nigerians, particularly in light of the removal of the fuel subsidy.
HURIWA also condemned the spending plan, describing it as a “reckless show of irresponsibility and irrationality” by the political elite, given the high rate of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria. They criticized the government for prioritizing the provision of luxury for lawmakers over addressing the critical socio-economic issues affecting the majority of Nigerians.