A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ruled that it is illegal for the National Assembly Service Commission to fix allowances of lawmakers.
In what is being described as a landmark judgment, Justice Chuka Obiozor said only the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission can fix salaries for public officers.
BREAKING: The Federal High Court in Lagos in a landmark judgment today ordered the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission to fix the salaries and allowances of 469 members of @nassnigeria to reflect the economic realities in the country.— SERAP (@SERAPNigeria) June 4, 2021
Obiozor delivered the judgement in a suit filed by a former Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Monday Ubani on behalf of SERAP, EiE and 1550 other concerned Nigerians.
A former lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani, had said in March 2018 that he received N13.5m as running cost plus another N750,000 monthly salary.
Ubani subsequently asked the court to decide if the National Assembly had the right to arbitrarily fix its allowances.
He also asked the court to order the National Assembly members to refund such jumbo allowances received.
The respondents in the case were the Senate President, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Attorney-General of the Federation, the National Assembly Service Commission and the RMAFC
In his ruling, Justice Obiozor said no other body or person in the country shall fix salary or allowances for any officer except RMAFC and it is illegal for anyone to do otherwise.
The judge, however, did not order that such allowances be refunded.
The National Assembly, which has 469 members, had been severely criticised for operating an opaque budget and refusing to reveal the allowances of its members.
The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, said Nigerian federal lawmakers are among the highest-earning lawmakers in the world.