Senator Ireti Kingibe on Wednesday reacted to Senate President Godswill Akpabio’s assurance during the day’s plenary session that “prayers” had been sent to the lawmakers as they embark on a recess — eliciting speculation over hidden allowances.
“In order to enable all of us to enjoy our holidays, a token has been sent to our various accounts by the Clerk of the National Assembly,” Akpabio told the senators before withdrawing the statement, describing the supposed disbursement as “prayers” sent to their “mailboxes”.
However, Kingibe, the sole lawmaker representing the FCT in the red chamber, was a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today, where she stressed that she did not receive any allowances that were out of the ordinary.
“No, actually, I didn’t receive any prayers, but I’ll check my email for the prayers,” the Labour Party member said humorously, adding that she did not know for sure what Akpabio was talking about.
Acknowledging that “most people” assumed allowances might have been paid to the lawmakers, she explained that such payments might be “statutory things that we would have been paid anyway”.
“I don’t think it was anything extra that we’re supposed to be given. I certainly haven’t seen anything extra,” Kingibe said.
Asked to comment on the high cost of governance, particularly on the part of senators often criticised as some of the highest paid in the world, the opposition lawmaker conceded that she could not change anything.
However, she revealed her strategy for the extra funds she gets paid.
“I have a constituency office; I also have a development office where I do development programmes for the people, and hopefully, anything extra, I will put in any allowances,” Kingibe said.
“Obviously, I’m new (and) we’ve been paid very little. But as they come in, a lot of it will go towards funding that office, the development programmes.”