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Slash Salaries, Allowances Of National Assembly Lawmakers, Agbakoba Tells Buhari

Former president, Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO), Dr. Olisa Agbakoba, has urged President- elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, to cut salaries and allowances of lawmakers and ensure prudent fiscal management of the economy.

He opined that what members earned as income currently was unconstitutional as it was against the recommendations of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC).

He also urged the President-elect to consider a Special Session of National Assembly to lay out a plan of action for approval and urgent implementation, declaring that Nigeria needed its own New Deal under him like America did under President Franklin Roosevelt.

Agbakoba made the call on Wednesday while unveiling to newsmen in his Creek Road, Apapa office a letter he wrote to the President- elect, rolling out list of areas of focus for the incoming Buhari’s administration.

In the letter titled, “Giving Nigeria A New Deal,” Agbakoba listed the areas to include National Order and Constitutional Reform, a New Anti- Corruption Framework, Economic Matters, Financial Services Sector, Aviation/Space, Legal/Justice Sector, Welfare Matters and Housing/Mortgage.

“Three months after President Roosevelt’s inauguration, the United States Congress and the country was subjected to a barrage of ideas and programmes unlike anything known in American history. This is what is known today as the ‘100 days’ record.

“As Roosevelt did, the President- elect may consider a special session of the National Assembly to lay out a Plan of Action for approval and urgent implementation,” he said.

Agbakoba, who noted that Buhari’s electoral promises were quite popular with the people to enjoy full implementation, contended that Nigeria needed its own New Deal in very many direction.

According to him, Nigeria is in utter chaos and disorder, which he said had greatly affected the nation.

Agbakoba, who is former president of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), while lamenting the absence of love of country among Nigerians, urged the Buhari government to work out a framework to reverse disorder and instill discipline in the country.

“The issue of national order is closely linked with a new constitutional order. It is strongly recommended that priority should be given to the national question and resolved urgently. The nation will not settle or move forward without solving the issue of disorder,” he said.

On the issue of corruption, Agbakoba maintained that the cankerworm had become endemic and, therefore, the need to reverse it strong new institutions.

“There has to be roots and branch reform of the anti-corruption agencies if we must succeed in slowing down corruption before even thinking of reversing it.

“Salaries and emoluments voted to our legislators by themselves is about 25% of our national budget. This is unconstitutional because it is not approved by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission.

“Stopping this outrageous conduct on the part of the legislators is, with respect to the litmus test in assessing the sincerity of the anti corruption agenda. It is strongly recommended that the NNPC be fundamentally reformed.

“Corruption is also manifest in over bloated budgets for the presidential villa and government houses, corrupt/weak public procurement procedures and abuse of discretion of ministers in the award of contracts. All these have taken a major toll on our resources and encouraged corruption.

“The first crucial challenge is for you to stop these aspects of corrupt practices and introduce major spending cuts,” Agbakoba said.

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