Some Nigerians have expressed their desire towards the scrapping of the Nigerian Senate, the upper chamber with 109 members in the bicameral legislative system adopted by the Country.
In an online survey/poll conducted by CCNIGERIA, which reads “Join the Survey/Poll and have your say: In your opinion, is the Senate useful to Nigeria’s development?
“A. No, it should be scrapped
B. Yes, very useful
C. Not my business…,” about 90.3% of citizens that took part in the poll voted for the scrapping of the Senate, stating several reasons for their position.
While expressing his opinion one of the participants in the online poll, Mr. Edidiong Umoren stated that, “the Senate should be scrapped because it is a liability to Nigeria. Its members are not contributing meaningfully to the government except to harass executive appointees.”
“They are not transparent and accountable when it comes to issues of finance. The senate is a chamber for corrupt and idle politicians like ex-Governors and their Deputies. We need a unicameral legislature.”
Another participant, Peter Pomi said, “a wretched and poor nation like ours has no business with a burdensome and expensive bicameral legislature. The House of Representatives is large enough and represented nearly all interests across the Country. Therefore, the Senate as a legislative chamber needs to be scrapped automatically.”
According to the information made available by the National Institute of Legislative Studies, NILS, a Nigerian Senator goes home annually with N12,902,360.00 while their counterparts in House of Representatives get N9,525,985.50 as their official salary and benefits.
The above figure does not include the four year period special amount given to a Legislator on accommodation, vehicle loan, furniture, and severance allowance, which allows a Senator to pocket N24,090,000.00 and a House of Representatives member to get N23,822,000.00 within the same period.
Meanwhile, there are other illegal and unspecified monies received by the Nigerian Lawmakers. For instance, there is what the Lawmakers tagged “cost of running office”, which is paid quarterly to each member of the National Assembly and this money increases per time according to insiders.
However, In 2009, the figure was said to be about N192 million per Senator in a quarter while their House of Representatives counterparts received N140 million per quarter.
Despite the unimaginable legal and illegal allowances, the Senate is always faced with corruption cases, tax evasion, etc.
The current 8th Senate has its Senate President, Bukola Saraki facing several corruption cases with Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, which includes alleged false and anticipatory assets declaration, embezzlement of public funds, etc.
Just recently, Bukola Saraki was accused of importing a bulletproof Range Rover SUV that is valued at N298 million, which was intercepted and impounded by Custom at Lagos as it attempted to boycott customs duty of N74 million.
As if that is not enough, Nigerian Customs seized 30 containers of rice fraudulently imported through Tin Can Island Port in Lagos by Senator Hope Uzodinma. He allegedly declared the contents as yeast to get a waiver of over 60%.
This is outside the certificate forgery cases rocking the Senate. The Senate has also pose as an obstacle to the President Buhari’s war against corruption as it has rejected twice the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The Senate has also failed to make people oriented laws and enact laws against corruption, being the greatest challenge facing the development of Nigeria as a Country.