Based on the results of our investigations, Street Journal recently came out with a report that two aides of Nigeria’s Senate President, David Mark are actually his very close family members- one is his son while the other is his junior brother. Street Journal has found out that the National Assembly is one of the places family members and associates of politicians would rather send their children to work as legislative aides. Street Journal has gathered that the maintenance of Legislative aides to lawmakers costs the Federal Government about N 4 billion annually. And at the end of every four years, close to N 20 billion goes out of the Federal Government’s coffers as salaries and allowances to legislative aides who are said to be about 2,500.
Street Journal has found out that there is a provision that allows each member of the National Assembly to appoint five aides namely a Senior Legislative Assistant, two Legislative Assistants, Personal Assistant and a Secretary. Principal Officers are however allowed to have more and their own teams include Chiefs of Staff, Senior Special Assistants, Press Secretaries and Special Advisers.
Apart from the fat salaries they enjoy, Street Journal found out that most of them enjoy certain levels of trust and are sometimes beneficiaries when their bosses land big time “jobs”. They also use their bosses’ links effectively in their own “runs” some of which allegedly include small contracts in ministries and local governments in their home states. For some, it is a grooming ground as they build their political careers from there. After serving legislators for some time, they go ahead to contest for political office.
It has also been discovered that Senior Legislative Assistants in the House of Representatives are on Grade Level 13 to 15 while their counterparts in the Senate are Grade Level 15 0r 16 officers. Legislative Assistants are between Grade Level 10 and 12 while Personal Assistants are Level 08 officers, Secretaries are however placed on Level 07.
On the average, a Senior Legislative Assistant takes about N 200,000 home monthly while Legislative Assistants earn about N 150,000, Personal Assistants N 60,000 and Secretaries N 50,000. Street Journal also found out that they are paid a 28 day allowance on assumption of duty while they get 300 % of their basic salaries as severance allowances when leaving. A Personal Assistant to a Honourable Member however revealed to Street Journal that “it is as if some legislators are short-changing their aides because some are not paid the stipulated wages”.
Street Journal gathered that the set of Senior Legislative Assistants that served in the last House of Representatives were paid N 3.954 million each as severance allowance while Legislative Assistants got N 1.609 million, Personal Assistants got N 1.16 million each and Secretaries N 780,000.
And doing a simple calculation of the allowances, 4 year salaries and severance packages of each Senior Legislative Assistant, it would be found out that each Senior Legislative Assistant costs the Federal Government about N 17.9 million every 4 years. On each Legislative Assistant on the other hand, the Federal Government expends N 10.1 million every 4 years while for each Secretary; it is N 3.95 million and N 5.2 million on each Personal Assistant.
For some time now, the “jumbo pay” of Nigerian legislators has been one of the most commonly discussed topics in the country and it has been given as one of the reasons for which many would do anything to perpetuate themselves in office.