Itse Sagay, a former Law teacher and chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) has alleged that while the president of the United States earns $400,000 annually, a Nigerian senator takes home over $1.7m annually.
The professor of Law said this in a lecture he delivered in Lagos. Sagay in his lecture, titled “The Many Afflictions of Anti-Corruption Crusade In Nigeria” claimed that a senator earns a basic salary of N2.4million per month, and other allowances, such as hardship (50 per cent of basic salary), newspaper allowance (50 per cent), wardrobe allowance (25 per cent), entertainment (30 per cent), recess (10 per cent) and leave (10 per cent), among others.
The total allowances, he said, amounts to N29.5million per month and N3.2billion per annum.
“Perhaps the most notorious example of the legislators’ resistance to the war against corruption is the rejection of the right of the executive to choose the persons who will spearhead that struggle.
“The clear impression is created that Nigerian legislators are in office for themselves and not for the populace.
“Not surprisingly, the National Assembly has not passed a single bill for the promotion of anti-corruption war since it commenced business in July 2015. The Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, the Proceeds of Crime Bill and the Special Criminal Court Bill remain in a virtual state of stagnation.
“What evidence do we need to establish the hostility of the eighth Assembly to the anti-corruption war?” Sagay queried.
The law professor also alluded to a gang-up among some powerful elites in the judiciary, legislature and banking industry.
“The “monstrous epidemic of high profile corruption” could not have afflicted Nigeria without bankers’ collusion”, Sagay said and added that the bankers must be prosecuted for their roles.
“In my own little way, we are going to push for the prosecution of such bank chiefs. They must be prosecuted,” he said.
Sagay said the legislature, senior lawyers, especially Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), and some “hostile and powerful judges” work against efforts to rid the country of corruption.
“There is a gang-up of the of the powerful political, business and banking elite that is determined to frustrate the anti-corruption struggle,” he said.
Moreover, Sagay didn’t spare the judiciary, which he described as “a national tragedy that should be avoided at all cost”.
He said no one would have remotely imagined as recently as 1999 that judges could indulge in the crime of selling their judgments to the highest bidder for hundreds of millions of dollars.
The National Judicial Council (NJC), he said, does not have a disciplinary capacity to deal with crimes of such gravity.
“That is why, tragically, we are now experiencing judges being tried in courts like common criminals. That is why the anti-corruption and security agencies have taken it upon themselves to continue from where the NJC stopped.
“It is a painful but necessary sacrifice we must make in order to cleanse and sanitise the system and to breathe new life into it,” he said.
Sagay said SANs deserve “harsh punishment” for shamelessly approaching judges and introducing them to a “demeaning and shameful culture” of bribery and corruption.
“These SANs deserve the harshest punishment of all. Anti-graft agencies and the police must monitor and investigate the activities of lawyers who receive a share of the proceeds of crime as their fees,” he said.
Source: The Nation