John Shiklam in Kaduna
The Senate Chief Whip, Senator Ali Ndume has disclosed plans by senators to take drastic action against the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, if he continues to make unwarranted statements.
While addressing his colleagues on Monday before proceeding on annual recess, Akpabio said a token had been paid into the accounts of the lawmakers to enable them to “enjoy their holidays.”
However, when he realised the embarrassment his statement had caused the lawmakers, the Senate president immediately withdrew the statement.
But his comment elicited wide condemnations from Nigerians, who accused the lawmakers of turning deaf ears to the suffering and hardship in the country.
Speaking during an interview with the BBC Hausa service at the weekend, Ndume said Akpabio’s comments are unbecoming of a leader.
According to him, the money received was their statutory entitlement and no special payment.
“It’s common knowledge that if any employee is going on leave, he/she is entitled to a leave grant. That was the money we received, and it is nothing unusual or special.
“All senators received N2 million. And I am making this comment with a heavy heart, because he (Akpabio) is the cause of this controversy.
“He created an impression as if we were given some special or huge amounts of money. What’s the big deal if I receive N2 million allowance in my capacity as a senator?
“He made a very wrong statement, and I warned him immediately that his comments were unbecoming of an elder.
“In fact, we are even planning to take drastic action against him if he continues making unguarded statements and acting as if we are kids,” Akpabio added.
Also speaking, the senator representing Kano South district, Kawu Sumaila, confirmed the receipt of N2 million.
He, however, called for transparency in the budget spending of the National Assembly, saying that would allow the lawmaker to perform their oversight functions optimally.
According to Sumaila, the Senate president’s comments were on a sensitive issue that has been bordering Nigerians.
“He sent N2 million to our accounts. Now, I want him to come out publicly and explain to Nigerians what the money is about.
“He should also tell Nigerians the total amount of money; so, I’m challenging Nigerians to take this up and insist they get full disclosure of the source of the money and the reason for disbursement,” he add