A Member of the House of Representatives and former chairman, National Assembly Legislative Aides Forum, Hon. Mohammed Abdulkadir Mahmud (Niger State), yesterday defended the N129 billion National Assembly budget.
According to him, the N120 billion is not for the lawmakers alone.
He said: Under the National Assembly is the Institute for Legislative Studies, the management of the National Assembly, the National Assembly Service Commission, individual legislators and their entitlements, the National Assembly Budget Office, legislative aides as well as the running costs of the Senate and the House Representatives chambers.”
Mahmud added: “We are worried about the information being pushed out to give the impression that all we are here, is to make money, that is not true, but let me also state here clearly that the National Assembly, comprising of all its organs has N120billion to spend in the 2015 budget.
“We have the management of the National Assembly and commission; they drew their salaries and allowances from that money, we have the running of the two chambers, we have the salaries and allowances of lawmakers, we have the legislative aides salaries from that money, we have committee assignments from that money, the National Assembly budget Office, all these organs draw their monies from that budget.
“And let me state again that the car loans that people talk about are actually loans which we have to pay from our salaries before the completion of our tenure; it is not free. Look at the housing, it is about N3.5 million. Now go to town and find out the cost of renting a house in town.
“But what some people would do is to simply divide the N120 billion by 469 lawmakers and that is not fair and I want you the media to properly inform the people, so that they would know the true position of things.”