The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has asked Senate President Godswill Akpabio to step aside and subject himself for investigation by the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC).
HURIWA accused Akpabio to have violated the relevant laws on lawful allowances for lawmakers in the upper legislative chamber.
HURIWA asked Akpabio to submit himself for investigation or be impeached without further waste of time.
Recall that Akpabio had during a plenary of the Senate purportedly mentioned questionable disbursement of funds to Senators for holiday purposes.
HURIWA described the Senate under the leadership of Akpabio as sleepy, rudderless, cash conscious, unpatriotic and anti-poor.
The rights group warned Nigerians to be ready for a long drawn battle to safeguard democracy because as it is, the legislature and the Judiciary are now both captives and political hostages of President Bola Tinubu.
In a statement released on Wednesday, HURIWA’s National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko demanded immediate transparency and accountability, urging the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the ICPC if both anti-graft bodies are still awake to summon the Senate President for a thorough explanation.
Following the public outrage and skepticism Senator Akpabio’s assertion has ignited, HURIWA demanded that the Senate President provide comprehensive clarification regarding the source, purpose, and amount of the funds disbursed.
With a firm call to action, HURIWA emphasized that if the Senate President fails to provide this information, Nigerians will be left with no choice but to believe that these funds were, in fact, payments for ministerial clearance.
“The timing of this revelation is deeply concerning, especially in the wake of the controversial ministerial screening process.
“If Senator Akpabio doesn’t want we the people of Nigeria to think aloud about the cash largesse he announced for Senators, then let him surrender to ICPC immediately for investigation.
“Failure to do so should be taken as an affront to constitutionalism and therefore should be impeached or recalled by his constituents,” the statement reads.
HURIWA’s statement further criticized the opacity of the screening procedure, likening it to an exclusive secret society enlistment program, despite being televised.
The association questioned the transparency of the entire process and raised concerns about undue influence from the executive arm of the government.
Continuing, HURIWA raised crucial questions: “Are National Assembly members entitled to holiday allowances? If so, how much are they entitled to, and have they met the duration of service required to start earning allowances?
Furthermore, the association inquired whether holiday allowances are included in the approved payments under the revenue mobilization structure”.
The crux of HURIWA’s concerns revolved around the entitlement and disbursement of allowances. The association highlighted that the allowances for National Assembly members are stipulated by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission.
“These include accommodation (200% of basic salary), domestic staff (75% of basic salary), utilities (30% of basic salary), house maintenance (5% of basic salary), wardrobe (25% of basic salary), and furniture (300% of basic salary)”.
HURIWA’s Onwubiko underscored the need for transparency, fairness, and accountability within Nigeria’s legislative processes, urging the EFCC to take immediate action and summon the Senate President to clarify the matter, ensuring that Nigerians are provided with accurate and complete information.
As Nigeria’s democracy and governance stand at a critical juncture, HURIWA reminds the nation of its duty to uphold the principles of justice, transparency, and equal representation. The association called upon all citizens to demand answers and actively participate in safeguarding the integrity of the country’s democratic institutions.