Court Orders NASS To Disclose Earnings Of Members

A Federal High Court has ordered the Clerks of the Senate and House of Representatives to disclose the salaries, allowances and constituency allowances of two members to Patrick Eholor, the founder and president of One Love Foundation, in compliance with the Freedom of Information, FoI Act.

The members are Ehigie Uzamere, senator representing Edo South Senatorial District and Nosakhare Osahon, the House member representing Ovia Federal Constituency.

Eholor, who is also a chieftain of the Labour Party, filed a case with suit at the court aftcot attempts to get the information from the National Assembly failed to yield the result.

Counsel to the plaintiff, Daniel Ogbegie, said his client was willing to pay any fee required for such information to be made available to him, adding that the issue of salaries and remuneration has been shrouded in so much secrecy over time.

“The Freedom of Information Act is to deepen democracy so that information can be available to the people all the time and for proper accountability to the people they want to serve,” he noted.

He said a letter was initially sent to the National Assembly requesting for the information and on the 22nd of April 2013 they got a reply requesting an extension to supply the information.

Ogbegie, however, noted that whereas the Freedom of Information Act of 2011, stipulates that such information must be supplied within seven days of the receipt of the request, reply from the Assembly did not come until after 19 days.

    “When we saw that the information was not forth coming, we now approached the court to seek a judicial review by way of mandamus to enforce that provision of the Freedom of Information Act and this was granted us on 10th, July 2013,” he added.

    In a similar case, in June, an Abuja Federal High Court ordered the National Assembly to release, within 14 days, details of the salary, emoluments, and allowances received by its members between 2007 and 2011 in line with the FoI ACT, to the Legal Defense and Assistance Project, LEDAP, a non-governmental organisation.

    LEDAP had written to the Assembly on July 6, 2011, requesting for the information but in a manner characteristic of government agencies, the letter was simply ignored.

    Nigerian lawmakers are considered the highest paid lawmakers in the world with each Senator believed to be getting a quarterly sum of Up to N60million and each member of the lower house getting N45million  in salaries and allowances.

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