Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house representatives, says principal officers of the national assembly are entitled to accommodation provided for by Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA).
On Monday, a civil organisation known as Citizens Action to Take Back Nigeria (CATBAN), alleged that principal officers of the national assembly were using FCDA “as a front under the guise of renting, renovation and furnishing of fictitious official residences”.
They said about N630 million was used on the said accommodation of the principal officers.
“In view of this, the appropriate accommodation allowance for the senate president is three million, seven hundred and twenty thousand naira only (N3,720,000.00) and that of his deputy is three million, four hundred and fifty one thousand, five hundred naira only (N3,451,500.00),” CATBAN had said.
“In the case of the speaker of the house of representatives, his accommodation allowance is three million, seven hundred and five thousand naira (N3,705,000.00) while his deputy is entitled to three million, four hundred and thirty five thousand naira only (N3,435,000.00).”
But in a statement on Tuesday, Turaki Hassan, the speaker’s spokesman, said the group were out to “misrepresent and distort facts with the aim of blackmailing the persons of the presiding officers and the legislature as an institution”.
“Presiding officers of the national assembly are entitled to official accommodation which is provided for by the FCDA as host of the national assembly. The same is applicable to the president, vice-president and the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) because their offices were not covered by the monetisation policy,” the statement by the speaker’s spokesman read.
“Consequently, no national assembly presiding officer receives any money from any other source for accommodation or rent.
“The FCDA is solely responsible for providing official accommodation for presiding officers of the national assembly and how it goes about it is entirely its business and not that of any presiding officer. It’s callous, wicked and evil for any news medium to seek to perpetuate the mendacity that national assembly presiding officers collected money from FCDA without any form of evidence whatsoever.
“We challenge those undertakers and merchants of lies for filthy lucre to tell the public which countries of the world allows presiding officers of their parliament to live in their personal houses. Certain officers of state were excluded from monetisation policy because of the nature of offices they hold that involves hosting certain level of official guests and other sundry activities. Should Nigeria’s case be different?”.