By Enyichukwu Enemanna
Nigeria’s Senate President may in coming days face legal action, after announcing the payment of “holiday allowances” to senators during its proceedings, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has threatened.
“We’re suing the Senate President Godswill Akpabio over the alleged payments of “holiday allowances” by the Clerk of the National Assembly into the “various accounts” of senators while some 137 million poor Nigerians face severe economic hardship,” SERAP announced in a brief statement via its official X handle, formerly known as Twitter.
Akpabio,a former governor, had during a plenary session on Wednesday, while addressing his colleagues, mentioned the disbursement of “holiday allowances” by the clerk of the National Assembly.
The funds according the the Senate President, had been paid into the bank accounts of various senators.
Unaware of the live broadcast, Akpabio said the distribution of a monetary token was a means to enable the senators to enjoy their holidays.
“As soon as Senator Umahi takes his oath of office, we shall rearrange the office of the leadership. To enable all of us to enjoy our holidays, a token has been sent to our various accounts by the Clerk of the National Assembly,” Akpabio said.
Umahi, a member of the Senate was one of the ministerial nominees of President Bola Tinubu and will in days to come be inaugurated as a member of the Federal Executive Council.
When senators informed Akpabio that the session was being televised live, he quickly withdrew his statement, clarifying that the funds distributed were intended to assist the senators with a safe vacation.
“In order to allow you to enjoy your holiday, the Senate President has sent prayers to your mailboxes to assist you to go on a safe journey and return,” he rephrased.
Critics have queried the appropriateness of such allowances for legislators and the transparency in its disbursement.