Federal High Court orders Saraki, Dogara to reveal Billions for Running Costs & Allowances

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) at the weekend scaled the first hurdle in the legal battle to compel the Senate President, Dr Bukola Sakari and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dogara Yakubu, to account for the spending of N500 billion as running cost for the National Assembly between 2006 and 2016.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ruling in the suit, also ordered both legislative houses to disclose monthly allowances of each member.

Justice Aikawa granted the order for leave following the hearing of an argument in court on exparte motion by SERAP counsel, Ms Bamisope Ibidolapo.

“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 court ruled.

SERAP had approached the court last December following disclosure by Abdulmumin Jibrin, suspended chairman of Appropriation Committee.

Jibrin in what observers have termed Africa’s biggest parliamentary scandals, had revealed how Senators and House of Representatives members padded the budget. He also claimed that the lawmakers pocketed N500 billion as ‘running cost’ out of the N1 trillion provided for in the National Assembly budgets between 2006 and 2016. Besides, former president Olusegun Obasanjo also alleged that each senator goes home with at least N15 million monthly while each member receives nothing less than N10 million monthly.

All efforts to get members the lawmkers to disclose their package have hit the brickwall. But the order by Justice Aikawa has now cleared the way for SERAP to advance its case against the senate president and the speaker of the House of Representatives.

The motion on notice is slated for Tuesday December 12 for 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.