Nothing seems to be making sense in Nigeria any more (has anything ever, really?). As the uproar continues over Sanusi’s revelation, the enormous burden of keeping the 469 legislators becomes even more apparent: annual salary (plus benefits) for those in the House of Representatives and Senate are in the range of 204 million and 240 million naira, respectively. In US-dollar translation, Nigeria pays each of its 469 lawmakers more than one million dollars each year! Continue reading…
Kudos to the Lagos State legislature as it passes a Disability Bill, probably the first of its kind in Nigeria.
Lagos building owners or ‘landlords’ must make their facilities accessible to people living with disabilities within five years, or be subject to a 5000Naira fine payable to the person on daily basis.
The question is how is disability defined, and who qualifies under this bill? Unfortunately, media report fails to provide clarity. Continue reading…
What are constituency projects? And how did they come about?
These are the questions I struggled to answerl as I read the latest media reports on the 60 billion naira constituency fund incorporated into the 2009 national budget.
The answers to my questions are best answered by Senator Femi Okurounmu in his Patriotic Punches column on Nigeria Tribune. He reveals the idea of constituency projects of legislators first surfaced during the 1999 – 2003 National Assembly while he was in the national assembly. He goes on to explain further:
[Constituency projects were created] to ensure a minimum presence of government in every constituency by having some grass-roots projects sited in each one, during the budgeting process… Legislators were merely required to identify projects which they wished to be sited in their constituencies for inclusion in the budget, with a financial ceiling for the budgetary provisions for such projects in each constituency.
The award of contracts for, and the supervision and payments for such contracts were left completely in the hands of the appropriate executive agencies of government. For example as a senator, my constituency borehole projects were put under the projects of Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority, and the contracts for them were awarded and paid for by that agency.
The concept — as described above — looks good, but I doubt if the funds have achieved much in real life. To me — and given our national panache for back-dealings and little regard for accountability — the constituency project fund may be likened to an open vault begging to be misused or even looted.
I’m curious to know how the 60 billion naira for this year will be spent and projects monitored…
From what I understand, the constituency project fund even exists at the state assembly level.
Many were elated when the Nigerian House of Representatives decided to investigate the stalled power multi-billion dollar project initiated by former president Obasanjo between 1999 and 2007. The House did its investigation — many of the sessions were broadcast live to Nigerian homes, the investigators even visited the sites for the projects to see things with their eyes. The House closed its investigation and worked on its report.
The report — several months after it was finished and submitted to the House leadership — was up for debate earlier this week. It didn’t go well, unfortunately.
234next.con reported what happened, here are some excerpts:
The report of the committee, which it presented to the House in October last year, came up for debate for two days last week after numerous postponements.
During the debate, most members spoke against the consideration of the report amid rowdiness. While some members wanted the debate halted, others said events had overtaken the recommendations of the report.
It was, however, gathered that members, particularly those of the Peoples Democratic Party wanted the report rejected following the intervention of the party leadership.
If any is in doubt who the supposed representatives of the people serve, the answer should be clear now.
Rather than settling down to examine the contents of the report, the House decided to elect another committee to examine the report written by another committee!
When will the redundancy stop? And when will Nigerians be free from the antics of the few lazy, self-centered buffoons we call Representatives and Senators?