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New NASS Members to Receive N4.69bn as Welcome Bonus

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Four hundred and sixty-nine lawmakers who were elected on the platform of various political parties in the February 23 National Assembly elections and the subsequent supplementary election will get N4.68bn as welcome package immediately after their inauguration in June, The PUNCH investigation has shown.

The package is to help the lawmakers sort out accommodation and furniture issues.

According to the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission, accommodation and furniture allowances are two of the irregular entitlements of lawmakers and other political office holders.

While accommodation is paid once every year, furniture allowance is paid once in four years.

Each member of the House of Representatives on resumption, therefore, is entitled to N9.926, 062.5, according to the prescription of the RMAFC in its Remuneration Package for Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders 2007 to Date.

This is the summation of furniture allowance of N5,955,637.5 and accommodation allowance of N3, 970,425 which a House of Representatives member is entitled to.

Therefore, the 360 lawmakers that will make up the House of Representatives to be inaugurated in June will be entitled to accommodation and furniture allowances of N3.57bn.

On the other hand, each senator is entitled to a combined furniture and accommodation allowance of N10,132,000 on assumption of office. While the accommodation allowance of a senator is N4,052,800, the furniture allowance is N6,079,200.

The 109 senators that will make up the 9th National Assembly will receive a total of N1.1bn when the red chamber opens in June altogether.

For motor vehicles, each of the senators is entitled to N8, 105,600 while each member of the House of Representatives is entitled to N7, 940,850.50.

The allowance for motor vehicles had been controversial in the past. According to RMAFC, this allowance payable once in four years is a loan and is optional. This means that it is repayable.

However, lawmakers that received the payment in the past had been known to ask the government to convert the loan to a grant.

Apart from these irregular allowances, there are other regular perks of office that are paid to lawmakers on a monthly basis. These include motor vehicle maintenance and fuelling. This is pegged at 75 per cent of their monthly salary.

Others are personal assistant – 25 per cent; domestic staff – 75 per cent; entertainment – 30 per cent; utilities – 30 per cent; newspapers/periodicals – 15 per cent; wardrobe – 25 per cent; house maintenance – five per cent; and constituency – 250 per cent.

There are other entitlements that they are not paid to them directly but provided and paid for by the government. These are for their special assistants, security and legislative aides.

What this means is that those in this capacity are paid directly by the government as the allowances cannot be claimed by political office holders. These allowances apply to senators and Reps.

Medical expenses are also borne by the government when they have a need for health services.

The lawmakers are also entitled to tour duty allowance, estacode (when they travel) and recess allowances. For a senator, the tour duty allowance is N37, 000 per night; the estacode is $950 per night and the recess allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary.

For a member of the House of Representatives, the tour duty allowance is N35, 000 per night; the estacode is $900 per night and the recess allowance is 10 per cent of their annual salary.

The Punch

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Insecurity: FG Resuscitates Special Terrorism Prosecution Courts

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Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, has said that special terrorism prosecution courts will soon be resuscitated in Nigeria.

In a statement on Thursday, Special Assistant on Media and Public Relations to the AGF, Umar Gwandu, said the decision is part of efforts to address insecurity.

“The federal government is committed to ending insecurity in the country. The courts are to bring to book all those found guilty in connection with terrorism, so as to serve as a deterrent to others,” the statement read.

“In addition to the prosecution of 400 suspected Boko Haram financiers, the measures taken by the government will counter the twin trouble of insurgency and insecurity in the country.”

On April 30, 2013, Ibrahim Auta, the former chief judge of the federal high court, made a practice direction that amended the order 48 rule 4 of the federal high court (civil procedure) rule 2009, which took effect on June 3, 2013.

The practice direction was intended to fast-track criminal trials relating to offences of terrorism, kidnapping, trafficking in persons, rape, corruption, and money laundering cases, and ensure that delays in criminal trials are largely eliminated.

Under this practice, the court shall ensure that criminal cases are fully ready for trial before hearing dates are agreed, in order to minimise undue adjournments and delays.

Parties involved in the trials are also expected to focus only on important matters relating to their cases.

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$65m Fraud: ICPC Declares Buhari’s Son-in-Law Wanted

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has declared Gimba Yau Kumo, son-in-law of President Muhammadu Buhari, wanted over an alleged $65 million fraud.

In a notice published on Thursday, Azuka Ogugua, spokesperson of the anti-graft commission, said Kumo is declared wanted alongside Tarry Rufus and Bola Ogunsola over alleged misappropriation and dispersion of national housing funds.

Kumo, a former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, married Fatima, the president’s daughter, in 2016 at Daura, Katsina state.

“The persons whose pictures appear above, Mr. Tarry Rufus, Mr. Gimba Yau Kumo and Mr. Bola Ogunsola, are hereby declared WANTED by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in connection with issues bordering on misappropriation of National Housing Funds and diversion of the sum of Sixty Five Million dollars ($65,000,000),” the ICPC said.

“Anyone who has useful information on their whereabouts should report to ICPC Headquarters Abuja, any of the ICPC State Offices or the nearest police station.”

In April, the senate committee on public accounts summoned Kumo to explain the alleged irregular award of N3 billion contract when he was still at the bank.

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Igbo Aren’t Violent People, Ignore ‘Rumour’ of Attack on Lagos – Ohanaeze Tells Sanwo-Olu

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Apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, has asked Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to ignore threats of attacks on the state.

On Monday, Hakeem Odumosu, Lagos commissioner of police, said the command is probing threats of attacks by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and Oodua Republic agitators.

The groups have, however, denied the allegations.

Speaking at a meeting with Sanwo-Olu at the Lagos government house on Thursday, George Obiozor, Ohanaeze president-general, said the “rumour” is intended to distract the governor from delivering good governance to the people.

Obiozor said Igbo people are not known for acts of violence.

“Today, the leadership of Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide, in the company of Igbo elders and leaders in Lagos, are here to pay you (Sanwo-Olu) a solidarity visit and to further reassure you that Ndigbo are not violent in nature, neither are we known for acts of violence anywhere we live,” Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, quoted Obiozor as saying.

“[On] the constant and periodic dangerous insinuations, rumour, gossip and callous statements that Ndigbo in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland contemplate or instigate violence in Lagos or any part of Yorubaland, we wish to state clearly that anywhere this dangerous rumour or statement is emanating from is aimed to cause division, crises and conflict amongst us.

“We think that this rumour is intended to distract the Lagos State Government from its efforts to provide good governance for all and cause disaffection between Ndigbo who live in Lagos and their host community, which is the second home of several Ndigbo.

“The quick denial of this rumour by members of IPOB and Yoruba groups in Lagos and across the south-west was a source of relief.

“The Igbo nation is renowned for being agents of development, not destruction. Ndigbo are builders and their contributions to the development of Lagos State are evident and exemplary.”

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