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EFCC Visit: Group Asks NASS Clerk To Withhold Allowance Of Legislators

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A civil society group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL), has petitioned the Clerk of the Senate, asking him to withhold the sitting allowance of all the 25 legislators that accompanied Mrs Toyin Saraki, wife of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) office when she honoured the anti-graft commission’s invitation last week.

Mrs Saraki who was invited by the EFCC to answer question bothering on alleged acts of corruption while the husband was Governor of Kwara State was reportedly accompanied by a large entourage including 25 legislators from both the Senate and the House of Representatives in a show of solidarity.

However, CACOL described the solidarity of the lawmakers as “a show of shame and clear departure from what the legislators were elected to do” adding that “our findings show that there were sittings in both the House of Representatives and the House of Senate on the day Toyin Saraki went to the EFCC.

“This presupposes that the 25 lawmakers boycotted the sittings to perform the shameless role of ‘bodyguards’ to Mrs. Saraki.”

Debo Adeniran, the group’s executive chairman said on Sunday that while the lawmakers had the liberty to accompany Mrs Saraki, who by law was deemed innocent until proven guilty, that it was wrong for them to abandon the job they were elected to do, to organise such “solidarity visit” and that as such, “paying the lawmakers sitting allowance for the days they didn’t sit would amount to double jeopardy for our dear country.”

The petition entitled ‘Call to the Clerk of the House of Senate to Withhold Sitting Allowances of Lawmakers that Followed Saraki’s Wife to the EFCC’ read in part, “As concerned Nigerian, our Coalition was taken aback last week to see the large entourage of Mrs. Toyin Saraki, wife of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki which comprised mainly of the elected ‘honourable’ lawmakers from both the higher and lower chambers of the National Assembly.

“These lawmakers and supposed representatives of the Nigerian people, reportedly accompanied Mrs. Saraki, who was invited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to answer to an allegation of corrupt practices, in a show of solidarity with the accused.

“It is disheartening that a total of twenty-five legislators could abandon their statutory duties to follow Mrs. Saraki to the office of the EFCC and waited for over the six hours that the exercise lasted.”

Adeniran said, “As much as we do not have much against their show of shame, however, paying the lawmakers sitting allowance for the days they didn’t sit would amount to double jeopardy for our dear country.

CACOL said that since those who accompanied Mrs. Saraki to the EFCC’s office did not attend the sittings, they should not be paid for those days.

“Aside withholding their allowances, we urge the House to query this untoward attitude of these ‘dishonourable’ honourables as failure to do so would encourage the perpetration of greater shenanigans by our elected lawmakers.

Source: Daily Independent

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