How Senators, Reps, Fleece Aides Despite Huge Pay
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How Senators, Reps, Fleece Aides Despite Huge Pay

How they ‘corner’ staff ‘s salaries, register relatives on payrolls, doctor documents – Insiders

• CSOs kick, call for probe

• Salaries are paid to aides directly – N/Assembly

By Ismail Mudashir, Abdullateef Salau, Itodo Daniel Sule, Abbas Jimoh & John C. Azu

Despite receiving huge pays in salaries and allowances, many senators and House of Representatives members engage in underhand deals by diverting funds meant to hire aides, and shortchanging personal staff in what is due to them, investigation by Daily Trust on Sunday has revealed.

While there is no official disclosure on the salaries and emoluments of members of the National Assembly, Nigerian lawmakers are believed to be among the highest paid in the world.

In 2018, then serving senator, Shehu Sani disclosed that each senator was being paid N13.5 million as running cost, in addition to N750,000 salary.

Last year, a member of the House of Representatives, Simon Karu, told a public gathering that each member of the House officially receives N8.5 million in running cost, aside N800,000 in salary.

It was learnt that a sizable percentage of the 2,345 statutory legislative aides are either sitting in for children or spouses of lawmakers – who receive the actual pay – or pay a kickback of up to 50 per cent of their official salaries to the persons who hired them.

Each of the 469 lawmakers – 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives – is entitled to five aides; a senior legislative aide, legislative assistant, personal assistant, constituency officer and a secretary.

For the position of a senior legislative aide are typically required to higher persons with a graduate degree and cognate experience who could be placed at up to level 15, or equivalence of a deputy director in the civil service.

The presiding officers of the National Assembly, the Senate President, Speaker, Deputy Senate President and the Deputy Speaker are at the liberty to engage unlimited number of aides, in a discretionary manner. This category of aides, who are in their hundreds, are largely nominal, with no office or official functions attached to them.

The legislative aides, Daily Trust on Sunday reports, are recruited by the National Assembly Service Commission on the recommendation of individual lawmakers.

Their salaries and other entitlements are catered for by the National Assembly management through bank accounts provided by the aides.

While many lawmakers would not discourse the issue with our reporters, at least two former members, and many aides confirmed the practice, with gripping details.

Checks by our reporters showed that the most affected of the five categories of aides are the secretaries. Most of them statutorily earn about N100,000, but half of it is often remitted back to their bosses.

Duties of legislative aides

Legislative assistants or legislative aides are engaged to assist legislators in successfully fulfilling their lawmaking obligations. The aides are expected to provide support services in the areas of administration, research, communication, and constituency liaison.

Legislative assistants are expected to conduct policy and legal research, and draft legislative resolutions and memorials.

Since legislators are concerned with passing of laws, it’s critical that legislative aides thoroughly research proposed legislation by attending committee hearings and getting copies of different testimonies and records.

In many countries such roles are filled by experienced researchers and other professionals, after a competitive process.

How lawmakers, under-staff offices, hire unqualified persons

“From the number of staff allotted each legislator, you can sense the importance the system attached to the legislative function,” said a former member of the House of Representatives who spoke to Daily Trust on Sunday.

The politician who craved for anonymity so

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