A former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili, on Monday said Nigeria had spent over N1tn on the National Assembly members in the last eight years. Ezekwesili, in a keynote address she delivered during one-day dialogue session on the ‘Cost of governance in Nigeria, “ added that banks earned N699bn as interests last year on loans secured by the government.
“Since 2005, the National Assembly members alone have been allocated N1tr,’’she said while also lamenting that “82 per cent of Nigeria’s budgetary cost goes for recurrent expenditure.” To buttress her claim that much was being spent servicing those in government, she said that “ a research conducted in the United Kingdom identified Nigerian legislators as being the highest paid in the world.”
Although she was applauded by participants at the session organised in Abuja by the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre with support from Federal Public Administration Reform Programme in the UK, she drew flak from the National Assembly members, who said her claim amounted to blackmail. But Ezekwesili, who was also a former minister of Solid Mineral and World Bank Vice-President for Africa Region, challenged civil society groups to demand a mini-national dialogue that centres on good governance and the the release of the Steve Oronsaye report on Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies.