The plan to pay the newly inaugurated lawmakers of the 9th National Assembly the sum of 19.8 billion naira as welcome package has been condemned by the Arewa Consultative Forum.
The group described it as an unpatriotic act that undermined the present reality of the country and the poverty-ridden citizens.
The group in a statement through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim Biu,
said, “ACF does not want to believe the media reports that N19.8b is to be paid to the new National Assembly members as a welcome package.”
“This is because the reported amount is beyond the fiduciary mark, as it does not take into account the reality of the national economy that has just been exited from the recession and struggling to thrive amid the myriad of socioeconomic challenges that include poverty that comes with unemployment.”
The group described the welcome package as unpatriotic “as it makes politics to be the only trade in town which is not helpful.”
“We must blame the system and the ill-conceived policy of the previous administrations that monetized entitlements of lawmakers and other political appointees and sold the nation’s landed properties meant for the legislators and other political appointees to themselves without considering the aftermath effect.”
“The past military administrations were wise enough to build customized Apo Quarters and Ministers houses in Abuja, which were meant to take care of legislators and political appointees in order to enhance both effectiveness and efficiency in governance.”
“Unfortunately, the political leaders in our present democratic system sold these landed properties to themselves, thereby forcing the nation to pay jumbo package to not only new legislators to settle for legislative session but to all other political appointees every tenure.”
“This has in turn forced some of the legislators and other political appointees to live outside Abuja in view of the ensuing high cost that makes it impossible for the nation to get value for the money paid to them.”
“ACF therefore wishes to appeal to the political leaders at all levels of government to consider the interest of the suffering masses in appropriating national and state resources needed for improvement of the economy and development for the good of all, rather than for enrichment of few.”