The House of Representatives has replied the Governor of Kaduna State, Mr. Nasir el-Rufai, accusing him of cleverly publishing the “security budget of the Kaduna State Government”, which was different from the “security vote of the governor”, being the issue in contention.
In an elaborate response on Tuesday night, the Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, again threw the challenge at el-Rufai to publish his security vote, not the funds budgeted for security projects by the state government.
Namdas recalled that until 2010 when the 1999 Constitution was amended to place the National Assembly on First Line Charge, the details of its budget were included in the main budget of the country.
He explained that the details were withdrawn, just like those of other organs on first line charge in the years after 2010.
But, he reassured Nigerians that the National Assembly would publish the details in the light of the current development to put the matter to rest.
Namdas also clarified that what Dogara said in Kaduna was to advise el-Rufai to take his campaign for transparency to all arms of government and to the states, particularly how governors spent their security vote and the funds of local government councils.
Part of the text of Namda’s briefing, read, “The leadership of the National Assembly has already directed the Clerk to the National Assembly to publish details of the National Assembly Budget from 2017 and so to continue to repeat the same call made three days earlier smacks of propaganda and cheap blackmail.”
“The Kaduna State governor chose to give headings of its budget on security related matters. Maybe he will give further details of actual security expenditures at the appropriate time. He claimed that the state’s accounts have been audited.
“No grounds have been broken here. The response by the Kaduna State governor completely missed the point. Mr. Speaker’s call was for El-Rufai to extend the campaign for openness and transparency to other arms of government, including the governors’ expenditure on security votes and local government funds.
“He merely doubled down on his campaign on National Assembly budget, leaving out the other aspects of Mr. Speaker’s request.
“The Kaduna State governor claimed that “in 2016, the National Assembly budget for its 469 members was larger than the entire budget of several Nigerian States’.
“This statement is patently misleading and a terrible display of ignorance and falsehood or a deliberate attempt to blackmail the parliament. For the avoidance of doubt, the National Assembly budget includes the salaries, allowances, expenditure and running cost of 469 members.
“It includes the salaries, allowances of about 3,000 legislative aides; it includes the salaries, allowances, equipment and maintenance of about 5,000 staff in the bureaucracy of the National Assembly.
“The National Assembly has agencies too. The National Assembly Service Commission has a staff strength of about 500. The National Institute for Legislative Studies is also a parastatal of the National Assembly that serves as a legislative think-tank and a highly rated academic institution, which serves not only the National Assembly but also State Houses of Assembly and the international community.
“It is currently building its headquarters which is world class. It has to be funded. El-Rufai’s mischievous publication carefully ignores the fact that the bureaucracy of National Assembly and its agencies and 469 members need travel and transport support.
“They require medical attention, offices, equipment and all the support available to others in the public service.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Yakubu Dogara, has bowed to public pressure and released his pay slips for the months of October, 2016 to March, 2017 to the public.
The Speaker’s pay slip revealed that he earns N402,530.37 per month, but his net salary after tax deductions is N346,577.87.
His basic salary is N206,425.83; Constituency, N175,461.96; and Recess, N20,642.58.
The pay slips were released on Tuesday by Turaki Hassan, his spokesperson.
The documents showed the breakdown of the speaker’s salary for October, November, December 2016 and January, February, March 2017.