A new detailed report has revealed that 469 members of the 8th National Assembly have at least 2,570 aides who earn fat salaries as high as N950,000 per month.
The report published by The Cable revealed that out of the number, 700 aides work for lawmakers in the senate, while the remaining 1,870 are engaged by house of representatives members.
In addition to the regular aides, the principal officers of both chambers have special assistants, senior special assistants and special advisers of varying numbers.
This category of aides, it was learnt, have a monthly salary of a minimum of N950,000 but was reduced to N400, 000 by the current management of the assembly. All the aides are paid from the coffers of the assembly.
As provided in the national assembly act, each lawmaker, excluding principal officers, is entitled to five aides – one senior legislative aide, two legislative aides, a personal assistant and a secretary.
It was discovered that in the provision, president of the senate is entitled to 45 aides, his deputy 30 and 20 each for principal officers. Similarly, speaker of the house of representatives has 35 assistants, deputy speaker 15 and 10 each for the six principal officers.
The number of aides to each legislator, it was gathered, includes those in their constituency offices.
The monthly emolument of the aides, which ranged from N150,000 to N250,000, sources close to the assembly said, has been reduced to between N75,000 and N180,000 by the current leadership of the assembly.
It has been discovered that some of the lawmakers have more than the statutorily approved number of aides with the NASS still paying heavily for it. It was also observed that some lawmakers pay some of their aides from their own resources.
Another anomaly discovered is that some of the lawmakers employed only one or two aides but are collecting the full salary for the five they are entitled to.
This act was discovered to be perpetrated more by the members through their constituency offices, which they are mandatorily expected to have in their areas but they deliberately don’t.
They submit names of non-existent staff in the constituency office to the national assembly service commission and collect their entitlements directly.
According to a new report by NAN, an aide to a senator from the south-west, working with him in Abuja, told NAN that he had never heard of other aides or office that his boss has in his constituency.
“All of us, his aides are here; it is only when he is travelling to the state that he goes with the senior legislative aide and his younger brother,” he said.
“The brother works with him; he is not documented but he is in charge whenever oga (the boss) is not around. But, all of us are always in the office in Abuja; I do not know of assistant or aide he has at the constituency level or in the state.”
Lawmakers have declined to comment on the issue.
Source: The Cable