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Court orders Saraki and Dogara to account for N500billion running cost of the Senate and House of Representatives

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi Lagos State on Friday ordered Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, and Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the Speaker of the National House of Representatives, to publicly account for the spending of N500billion as running cost for the National Assembly between 2006 and 2016.

“I have looked at the papers filed by SERAP and I am satisfied that leave ought to be granted in this case for judicial review and an order of mandamus directing and compelling Saraki and Dogara to account for the spending of the running cost and disclose the monthly income and allowances of each Senator and member,” the judge said.

The order came following a ruling in favour of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) which seek the legislative body to publicly account for its running cost.

The motion was filed in court by SERAP’s counsel, Ms. Bamisope Adeyanju, following a revelation by Abdulmumin Jibrin that Nigerian Senators and House of Representative members pocketed N500billion as running cost out of N1trillion provided for the National Assembly in the budgets between 2006 and 2016.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo also stated sometime ago that each senator goes home with nothing less than N15million monthly, while a member of the House of Representative goes with at least N10million monthly, adding that they are thieves. A statement that drew responses from the two legislative bodies criticizing the former president.

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“The motion on notice is set for Tuesday, December 12, 2017 for the hearing of argument on why Saraki and Dogara should not be compelled to publish details of the spending on the running of the National Assembly and the exact monthly income and allowances of each Senator and member.”

SERAP in the suit with numbers FHC/L/CS/1711/16 and FHC/L/CS/1710/16 is asking that by virtue of the provisions of Section 1 (1) and Section 4 (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, the Defendants/Respondents are under a binding legal obligation to provide the Plaintiff/Applicant with up to date information on the spending allowances of each Senator and member including details of projects on which the N500 billion running cost between 2006 and 2016 were spent.

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