Prominent human rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has condemned the National Assembly’s decision to allocate N70 billion as palliatives for its members, labeling it as illegal and contemptuous.

In a press statement Falana called attention to the blatant breach of the relevant provisions of the Nigerian Constitution and urged the immediate reversal of these controversial measures.

The allocation of N70 billion, disbursed among 306 newly elected members, in addition to N40 billion set aside for the purchase of Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and bulletproof cars for principal officials and members, has sparked public outrage.

Falana emphasized the callousness and insensitivity displayed by the National Assembly, especially when considering the economic hardships endured by the majority of Nigerians.

According to Senior Advocate (SAN), these decisions blatantly contravene Section 70 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999, which outlines the appropriate remuneration and allowances for members of the National Assembly.

Citing recent court judgments, including Monday Ubani & Anor. vs Attorney-General of the Federation & Ors and the case filed by the Socio-economic Rights Accountability Project (SERAP), Enough is Enough (EiE), and BudgIT against the National Assembly, Falana affirmed that the judiciary had already ruled against such excessive allowances.

The Federal High Court, in both cases, declared that the National Assembly Service Commission has no authority to determine the remuneration and allowances of its members. The court emphasized the need for the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) to review and adjust salaries and allowances in line with the country’s economic realities.

Falana stressed that these judgments remain valid and binding, and the National Assembly’s actions are therefore illegal and contemptuous. He called on the leadership and members of the National Assembly to reverse the controversial allowances and the purchase of luxury vehicles.

In the event that these actions are not promptly rectified, Falana urged the RMAFC to take immediate measures to prevent further usurpation of its constitutional functions.

He warned that failure to do so would result in contempt proceedings against the Chairman of the RMAFC and the leaders of both chambers of the National Assembly.

Credit: channelstv.com

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