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National, state assemblies to spend N724bn in 2024

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The National Assembly and the 36 state assemblies of the federation as well as their agencies will spend about N724bn this year, an analysis of their 2024 budgets by Theheute has shown.

Further findings also showed that the salaries and allowances for federal and state lawmakers would cost the country about N50bn this year.

This means that the federal and state governments earmarked N673.94bn for the national and state assemblies as well as their related agencies in the 2024 budget.

The salaries and allowances are based on data collated from a document obtained from the website of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission.

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However, the overall allowances exceed the reported figure due to undisclosed amounts for several of the lawmakers.

An analysis shows that 109 members of the senate will get N8.67bn in salaries and allowances while 360 members in the green chamber will get N24.43bn in salaries and allowances.

A breakdown shows that the annual basic salary of the President of the Senate is N2.48m each year (about N9.92m in four years) while that of the Deputy President is N2.31m yearly (about N9.24m in four years).

Out of 19 allowances assigned to the Senate President and his deputy, only five allowances were assigned a specific figure.

The disclosed allowances include constituency allowance (250 per cent of the basic annual salary), duty tour allowance (N50,000 per night), Estacode ($1,300 per night), Recess (10 per cent of the basic annual salary) and severance gratuity (300 per cent of the basic annual salary).

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The allowances of the Senate President will gulp about N33.29m, which includes a N6.21m annual constituency allowance, N248,424.25 annual recess allowance, and N7.45m for severance gratuity, which is paid at the end of the tenure.

The allowances of the Deputy Senate President are expected to cost the nation about N30.94m, which includes N5.77m annual constituency allowance, N230,916.70 annual recess allowance, and N6.93m for severance gratuity.

Other senators get N2.03m as basic annual salary (a total of N8.12m in four years) and a total allowance of N72,137,440 for each of them.

The salaries of the 107 senators will cost N868.3m, while their allowances will cost N7.72bn.

In the section for the salaries and allowances of other senators, out of the 20 allowances mentioned, only 15 were disclosed.

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Similarly, the Speaker of the House gets an annual salary of N2.48m (about N9.92m in four years), while the deputy gets N2.29m (about N9.16m in four years).

The allowances of the Speaker are about N18.33m which includes N2.48m annually for constituency allowance, N247,711 annual recess allowance, and N7.43m severance gratuity.

The allowance of the deputy speaker was pegged at about N17.16m and this includes annual N2.29m for constituency allowance, N288,703 for recess, and N6.86m for severance gratuity.

Other members of the House of Representatives get N1.99m each as basic annual salary (a total of N7.94m in four years), while each got N58.76m as allowance.

The salaries of the 358 House of Representatives members will cost N2.84bn while their allowances are estimated at N21.04bn.

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Also, the Speaker of a state assembly will be paid N1.64m (N6.56m in four years) as an annual basic salary while the deputy speaker gets N1.45m (N5.8m in four years).

In total, the 36 speakers will get about N59.04m as annual basic salary or N236.16m in four years while the 36 deputies will get about N52.1m as annual basic salary or N208.40m in four years.

The allowances of the speaker will gulp about N5.58m (N22.30m in four years) which includes N409,968 annual constituency allowance, N163,987.50 annual leave allowance, and N3.28m severance gratuity.

The deputy speaker will be paid about N4.92m (N19.67m in four years), and this includes N361,495 constituency allowance, N144,598 for annual leave, and N2.89m severance gratuity.

In total, the basic allowances for the 36 speakers and their deputies will cost the nation N1.51bn.

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There are 784 members in the 36 state Houses of Assembly each of whom is entitled to N1.34m annual salary or N5.34m in four years and an allowance of N12.97m.

In total, the 784 members cost their states about N4.19bn in salary and N10.17bn in allowance.

Meanwhile, checks by Theheute indicated that the government approved a total sum of N294.7bn for the National Assembly, its affiliate bodies and infrastructure construction.

Details of the National Assembly’s 2024 budget showed that the assembly office got N36.73bn for its activities. The Senate got an envelope funding of N49.14bn while the Representatives got N78.63bn.

The political arm of the National Assembly has the Senate and the House of Representatives with 109 and 360 members, respectively, while the administrative/bureaucratic arm has the National Assembly Management headed by the Clerk of the National Assembly and the National Assembly Service Commission.

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The federal parliament has affiliate bodies including the National Assembly Service Commission which got funding of N12.33bn, the National Assembly Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (the academic arm) got N9.1bn while the headquarters got N4.5bn.

Further checks showed that the legislative aides were given N20.34bn, the Public Account Committee of the Senate got N130m while N150m went to that of the green chamber.

Office of the retired clerks and permanent secretaries were allotted N1.2bn, the service-wide vote was N15.2bn; general services got N30.81bn, National Assembly Library building got N12.12bn while books procurement for the library got N3bn; Appropriation Committee Department – Senate (N200m); Appropriation Committee Department – House (N200m). The construction of the NASC will also gulp N10bn.

‘State Assembly’s budgets’

The statutory budgets of a state assembly and its agencies surged to N379.28bn in the 2024 budget.

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An analysis of each state’s 2024 budget showed that Akwa-Ibom, Kaduna, Delta, Edo, Imo, Lagos, and Ogun governments gave the highest funding to their lawmakers.

This funding includes appropriation for the service commission, civil servants and capital expenditure.

Abia State assembly got N6.43bn, Akwa-Ibom (N5.84bn), Anambra (N7.23bn), Bauchi (5.45bn), Bayelsa (N2.04bn), Benue (N6.18bn), Borno (N8.1bn), Cross-Rivers (N10.82bn), Delta (N14.17bn), Ebonyi (N2.39bn), Edo (N26.17bn), Ekiti (N2.8bn), Enugu (N6.23bn), Gombe (N5.61bn), Imo (N26.85bn), Jigawa (N7.17bn), Kaduna (N17.11bn), Kano (N10.08bn).

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Other states including Katsina (N4.83bn), Kebbi (N6.72bn), Kogi (N7.77bn), Kwara (N5.03bn), Lagos (N70.56bn), Nasarawa (N6.03bn), Niger (N4.15bn), Ogun (N14.41bn), Ondo (N11.34bn), Osun(N4.13bn), Oyo (N9.68bn), Plateau (N10.15bn), Rivers (N5.02bn), Sokoto (N10.16bn), Taraba (N9.5bn), Yobe (N3.99bn), and Zamfara (N3.83bn).

Reactions

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Meanwhile, some state parliaments have reacted. The Ondo State House of Assembly said the amount earmarked for the budget of the assembly would not be enough to take care of all its expenses in 2024.

A check on the state’s website showed that a sum of N14.9bn was earmarked for the Ondo assembly for this year.

Speaking on the budget, the Chairman of the House Committee on Information and Orientation, Mr Olatunji Oshati, said the sum was not enough, calling for the implementation of the assembly autonomy which has been signed into law by the President.

Oshati said, “The money (budget) is not enough; even though we have been agitating for the release of our constituency allowances to carry out our constituency projects, it has not been granted. We would be happy if the money could be increased to enable the House to function well.

“It would be great if the assembly autonomy law that has been signed could be implemented, it would enable the house to address its financial challenges without any influence of the executive. The house would also function maximally”.

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Edo

In Edo, the State House of Assembly was allotted the sum of N13bn in the state’s budget for 2024.

The Speaker of the House, Blessing Agbebaku, had disclosed this early this recently during a function.

However, efforts to get the breakdown of the budget at the weekend proved abortive as a principal officer told Theheute that the breakdown could only be obtained from the Ministry of Finance.

Also, the Minority Leader of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Lukman Adeleye, on Sunday, said the budgetary allocation for the legislature was around N12bn.

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Adeleye, however, said that the figure was only on paper, as precedence has shown that the actual budget performance has hardly been 30 per cent.

He said, “In this case, the actual performance, I mean the money the assembly will be able to get for a whole year, may not be more than 30 per cent of the entire budget going by the past performance of the budget.

‘’The budgetary provision was designed to take into consideration the implementation of the autonomy of the state houses of assembly as enacted during the tenure of President Mohammadu Buhari.

“The budget is to take care of both the capital and recurrent expenditure like payment of salaries for the civil servants, the salaries for the lawmakers, the constituency projects, running of the assembly, training, oversight functions among other things to aid the effectiveness of the legislature.

“But as I have earlier pointed out, the budgetary allocation is on paper because I don’t know of any governor that has implemented the autonomy law, we are still at the mercy of the executive arm of the government”.

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Groups react

Meanwhile, some anti-corruption groups have reacted to the issue.

The Deputy Director of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, Kolawole Oludare, said the NASS lacked transparency and accountability, saying, “The transparency part is letting the people be aware of how much and the process of allocation. The accountability aspect is also for the actions and the procedures of the National Assembly.

“For context, the National Assembly was allocated just under N200bn in the 2024 budget in the appropriation, and they increased it on their own by say, more than 50 per cent in the 2024 appropriation before it was passed into law. So you will see that the NASS is lacking in the transparency and accountability mechanism in the way they handle their appropriation, both recurrent and capital. And perhaps that is why also the state legislature is taking a cue from the NASS”, he stated.

On his part, the Executive Director, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Musa Ibrahim, lamented the “discrimination and exploitation” in the unequal pay between the legislators and officials in the security agencies, describing it as unfair.

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“Because the Nigerian government has created unequal pay, some Nigerians that are contributing immensely to the growth and development of this country are being neglected, and are not being given necessary support, especially those who are even giving their lives to save the country and save Nigerians.

“There’s no way you can continue to impoverish public officials, especially serving security officials with this peanut and then you expect them to go and put their lives, to protect you and the rest of the people. I think this is unfair, we cannot continue to do this exploitation and discrimination in pay. We cannot be pampering political appointees and politicians siphoning the public taxpayers’ money when there is not much to see in terms of the contribution they are making,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Chairman, the Centre for Accountability and Open Leadership, Debo Adeniran, stated that the lawmakers’ bogus pay was insensitive.

“Ordinarily, any emolument that is not recommended by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission is against the law and anybody that earns such income has committed an offence that is supposed to be criminal in nature. But what we have in Nigeria is that our leaders behave as if they are above the law, and they behave as if they have been elected to enjoy on our behalf.

Basically, what they have done is insensitive, is actually wickedness, and it will get to a time where Nigerians will not be able to bear it anymore, and it will snowball into a conflagration that they will find difficult to douse,” he said.

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ICYMI: ‘Go and bring husband to daddy,’ Ooni of Ife tells daughter at 30

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The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, has taken to social media to celebrate his daughter, Adeola, who turns 30 on May 20.

Ogunwusi, in his post on Monday, prayed to God to be with his daughter and asked her to bring a man home for marriage because she was ripe for it.

The revered monarch reeled out his expectations to her every 10 years, saying that when she was 10, he spoke to her about school and the future, and when she turned 20, it was about listening and understanding the importance of morals and well-being. But now that she is 30, she should bring a man home for marriage.

He wrote, “Princess Adeola, Aanuoluwapo, Atutunini, Bamdefe Ogunwusi, Omo Ojaja II. I am truly grateful for the fulfilling life you have lived. May God Almighty continue to be with you in all your endeavours. Amen!

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“When you turned 10, your father would talk to you about school and your future. At 20, he encouraged you to listen and understand the importance of morals and well-being, even as you sought independence.

“Now that you are 30, you are a grown woman. Your father senses that you no longer wish to be advised as independence has finally set in.

“I talked 10 to you and got your subtle independent behaviour in return. I talked 20 to you, and I still got your near-obvious independence behaviour in return. Now I’m talking 30 to a grown woman, so go and bring husband to daddy. With love from the throne of Oduduwa.

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“Congratulations, and may God continue to guide you in all your pursuits,” he wrote.

However, the post has been greeted by warm reception from Nigerians as some men have begun to show interest in the daughter of the revered monarch.

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One user on Instagram who identified with the handle, KaybabaofHouston, said, “Daddy, please tag her. Let us begin to show our interest in her.”

ArosoIbitoye said, “Awesome! I have handsome boys here who will be willing to be inlaw to the king, sir.”

Rydow said, “Men mount. Where is her handle? I have single friends who are serious.”

“I want to marry your daughter sir,” one Ronnietthreads wrote.

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Abuja shopping complex shut after assault on soldiers

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Officers of the Nigeria Army have reportedly shut Banex Plaza, a shopping complex located in the Wuse 2 area of the Federal Capital Territory, following attacks on some of its personnel over the weekend.

A trader at the nearby Emab Plaza, simply known as Mr Somto, confirmed this to our correspondent via phone call on Monday.

“Yes, Banex is locked down. We are not affected by it though. And some men of the army are here”, he said.

Another shop owner, who runs an Apple products store at the complex, who spoke to our correspondent on the condition of anonymity, also confirmed the development, adding that they were still in talks with the army.

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“No, we are not open. You know because of the issue that happened, the army has locked down the place. At each gate of Banex now, there is a Hilux vehicle, an army Hilux. They won’t even let you cross the place.

“But maybe between tomorrow and next, it will be open, we don’t know. We are still on it, having meetings with them”, he said

Theheute reports that the FCT Police Command on Saturday, deployed officers of the Intelligence Response Team to the area after a conflict ensued between traders and some soldiers.

A viral video seen by our correspondent on X showed a multitude of civilians overpowering some soldiers during a free-for-all at Banex.

The FCT Police Command, in a statement by its spokesperson, Josephine Adeh, later on Saturday night, said the police had restored peace in the affected area, adding that a buyer had gone with four soldiers to demand a refund after the purchased phone developed faults, which the shop owner resisted.

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“This action resulted in a confrontation and squabble with the military officer. This development led some irate youths to attack the military officer which led to an uproar in the environs”, the statement read.

Meanwhile, personnel of the Nigeria Army, in a reprisal, reportedly stormed the plaza on Saturday evening, beating passersby and manning guards, while a circulating video also showed the soldiers punishing some individuals.

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Crime

NDLEA declares India-based Nigerian couple wanted, arrests four cartel members

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The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has declared a couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade, wanted for running a cocaine cartel from India.

This follows the arrest of four members of the syndicate in Lagos, where a Sports Utility Vehicle was recovered and two houses traced to them were sealed for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

This was made known in a statement signed by the agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi, and shared on its website on Sunday.

The statement read, “A couple, Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade (alias Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun) and Rashidat Ayinke Owoalade (alias Bolarinwa Rashidat Ayinke), who runs a cocaine cartel from India has been declared wanted by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency following the arrest of four members of the syndicate in Lagos where a Sports Utility Vehicle was recovered and two houses already traced to them sealed for forfeiture to the Federal Government.

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“Two members of the syndicate: Imran Taofeek Olalekan and Ishola Isiaka Olalekan were arrested on April 3, 2024 following their bid to export 3.40kg cocaine on a Qatar Airlines flight going to Oman through the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos.

“While Imran was the courier conveying the drug consignment to Oman, Ishola recruited him for the head of the cartel, which investigation has now revealed to be Alhaji Kazeem Omogoriola Owoalade whose Indian residence permit bears Abdul Qassim Adisa Balogun based in India.

“Efforts to dismantle his network in Nigeria paid off after five weeks of surveillance and follow up operations when another member of the syndicate, Hamed Abimbola Saheed, who works directly with the baron was arrested on Tuesday 14th May at Abule Egba area of Lagos. It was indeed Saheed who lodged Imran in a hotel a day before his aborted trip to Oman and equally dropped him and Ishola at the Lagos airport the day they were arrested.”

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During a search of Hamed’s house, NDLEA operatives were said to have recovered some phenacetine, a cutting agent for Cocaine, weighing 900 grams.

He was said to have confessed that the recovered substance was what was left of the consignment Imran was taking to Oman the day he was arrested.

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His arrest led to a follow up operation at the home of the Owoalade couple at 20, Eyiaro Street, Ogudu Orioke, Lagos where another suspect was arrested and a new model Toyota RAV4 SUV marked FKJ-773 JJ belonging to Rashidat and additional 400 grams of Cocaine recovered in addition to already prepared suitcases to be used for illicit drug concealment, digital weighing scales and other paraphernalia.

NDLEA officers also intercepted two parcels at a courier firm in Lagos on May 15.

The parcels contained cocaine (587g) hidden in steel bolts bound for China and amphetamine concealed in vape pens and shea butter heading to the UK.

The statement added that an attempt to export 3.6kg of cannabis (loud strain) hidden in 36 water flasks to Dubai was foiled at a logistics company in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on May 16.

The owner of the consignment, Emeka Nwadiaro (aka Mega), was arrested in Onitsha, Anambra State, on the same day following a swift follow-up operation.

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The statement added, “While NDLEA operatives in Lagos intercepted a Mercedes Benz bus loaded with 840kg cannabis and arrested the driver, Samuel Henry, at Olojo in Ojo LGA, Lagos, another suspect, Lawal Adam was nabbed along Otukpo road, Aliade, Benue state on Friday 17th May with 75,000 pills of opioids including tramadol and exol-5. Two suspects: Olisa Etisi, 32, and Jonathan Umeh, 25, were arrested along Owerri – Onitsha road, Imo state following the discovery by NDLEA operatives of a big gas cyclinder used to conceal six blocks of Loud, a strain of cannabis weighing 3.85kg.

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“In Borno State, 70-year-old Adamu Mohammed was arrested at Mbulamel, Biu LGA on Thursday, 16th May with 2kg cannabis and 33.55grams of diazepam, while Gaddafi Sani, 27, was arrested with 30 kilograms of cannabis along Abuja-Kaduna road, Kaduna.”

NDLEA officers in Yobe State seized a large consignment of drugs from a petrol tanker on the Potiskum-Damaturu Road.

The drugs, which included 91.1kg of opioids and 13kg of cannabis, were hidden in secret compartments and were heading for Maiduguri, Borno State.

The driver, Ismaila Ali, was arrested in connection with the discovery.

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NDLEA officers also arrested four suspects in connection with the seizure of 2,025 pieces of improvised explosive devices (IED) materials in Niger State.

Two suspects, Abdulrauf Shitu Adeyemi and Asmiyu Rahim, were arrested on the spot, while Husaini Abdullahi and Nazifi Abdullahi were arrested in Sokoto and Kano respectively, following a follow-up operation.

The suspects and the explosive materials have been transferred to the appropriate security agency for further investigation. In a separate operation, Muhammad Lawal was arrested in Katsina state with 1,000 ampoules of Pentazocine injection.

A total of 105kg cannabis was on Friday, May 17, recovered from a house at Obola community, Owan West LG, Edo State, and a suspect, Gloria Oris, arrested when NDLEA officers raided the area.

In Kwara State, two suspects: Abdulganiyu Karaman, 55, and Sunday Abel, 37, were on Saturday 18th May arrested with 83kg cannabis and tramadol at Boriya, Baruten LGA, and Offa respectively.

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NDLEA officers also recovered 105kg of cannabis from a house in the Obola community, Edo state, and arrested a suspect, Gloria Oris, on May 17th. Additionally, two suspects, Abdulganiyu Karaman and Sunday Abel, were arrested in Kwara State on May 18, with 83kg of cannabis and tramadol.

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