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SERAP To Sue Senate President Akpabio Over Payment Of ‘Holiday Allowances’ To Senators While Nigerians Face Hardship

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SERAP
SERAP

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Akpabio made the revelation in a video which went viral on Wednesday morning while addressing his colleagues before the adjournment of a motion moved by one of the senators.

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Thursday said it will sue the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio over the payment of ‘holiday allowances’ to Senators.

In the letter signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP said the National Assembly leaders must “promptly cut the outrageous National Assembly budget of N228.1bn, including the N30.17bn severance payments and inauguration costs for members (the highest ever).”

SaharaReporters had reported that Senate President Akpabio confirmed that undisclosed amounts of money had been sent to members of the upper legislative chamber to use to enjoy their holidays.

Akpabio made the revelation in a video which went viral on Wednesday morning while addressing his colleagues before the adjournment of a motion moved by one of the senators.

In the viral video, Akpabio said, “In order to enable all of us to enjoy our holidays, a token has been sent to our various accounts by the clerk of the national assembly.”

But when his statement sparked a rowdy moment on the floor of the Senate, he rephrased the statement and said, “I withdraw that statement. “In order to allow you to enjoy your holiday, the senate president has sent prayers to your mailboxes to assist you to go on a safe journey and return.”

This comes amid rising inflation and astronomical rise in prices of food in markets which have subjected Nigerians to deeper poverty, especially since the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu-led government.

However, SERAP in a statement posted on its verified Twitter handle on Thursday said it will sue the Senate President, noting that over 137 million poor Nigerians face severe economic hardship.

The statement reads; “We’re suing the Senate President Godswill Akpabio over the alleged payments of “holiday allowances” by the Clerk of the National Assembly into the “various accounts” of senators while some 137 million poor Nigerians face severe economic hardship,” the statement added.

However, SaharaReporters on Wednesday exclusively reported that the senators were upset that Akpabio exposed that they were getting bribe for ministerial screening. The aggrieved senators are unhappy about the ridicule and embarrassment the former Akwa Ibom governor’s unguarded statement brought to them.

Sources in the National Assembly told SaharaReporters that N2 million was sent to each of the senators by Akpabio who had received N1 billion from ministerial nominees.

SaharaReporters learnt that the senators described Akpabio’s action as blackmail, to ensure they received the stick from their constituents for a “paltry sum” while he had pocketed the bulk of the bribe money paid to them.

“Senators are upset with Senate President Akpabio for exposing the bribe money they get for ministerial screening. A paltry N2 million was sent to each of them. They are angry that now Nigerians know how they are bribed to allow ministerial nominees to take a bow and go,” the source said.

“The Senate President collected over N1 billion from the screened ministers and sent only N2 million to the account of each of 109 senators, totalling N218 million,” another source said.

“He never disclosed to the senators the source of the N2 million each sent to their accounts. Rather, what Akpabio did was to blackmail the Senators on Monday night in an open live television cast that money had been sent to the accounts of Senators for holidays. Then the following morning, senators received only N2 million each in their accounts while the senate president pocketed hundreds of millions of naira.

“What a shame and highest treachery and blackmail by the Senate President. Senators are getting ready for a battle with him because this has pitched Senators against their constituents who never knew that they were given only N2 million each for the so-called ‘allowance for holidays/vacation.’”

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