Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Country's Lawmakers Highest Paid in the World--UK Scholar

28 September 2011

Tony Ailemen

Abuja — Nigerian parliamentarians were yesterday described as the highest paid in the world earning as high as $2[m] in both salaries and allowances.

Richard Dowden, Executive Director, African Royal Society, United Kingdom (UK) said this yesterday as guest speaker at this year's Nigeria Independence Anniversary Lecture hosted by the Ministry of foreign Affairs.

Dowden who described the situation as "obscene" said it is unacceptable that the country spends so much on parliamentarians while having well over 10 per cent of the world's maternal mortality rate and 10 per cent of world's children who are out of school
"More than 100 million Nigerians live in poverty- which is a quarter of the total poverty in sub Sahara Africa. Nigeria has over 10 per cent of the world's maternal mortality and child mortality and 10 per cent of world's children out of school. This is unacceptable. It is even more unacceptable that in a country with those statistics, the politicians are the highest paid in the world. $1millioin for a Parliamentary salary with another $1million in expenses is obscene"

While noting that the discovery of oil in Nigeria has become a "curse" rather a blessing, he called on government to build strong institutions that will not only promote the efficient utilisation of resources but also ensure consistency and continuity in governance.

He warned that unless the disparity between the rich and poor are narrowed, the nation stands the risk of witnessing a mass revolt similar to the one currently going on in the Arab world.

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