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Senator Sadiq Umar Defends National Assembly’s Controversial Allowances

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ILORIN, Nigeria  — Amid nationwide controversy over the multi-billion naira car and office allowances for members of the National Assembly, Senator Sadiq Umar, representing the Kwara North Senatorial District, has come out in defense of the disbursements.

Public criticism has been swift and widespread, with many Nigerians expressing disappointment in President Bola Tinubu for authorizing such expenditures at a time when the general populace faces hardships from the recent fuel subsidy removal.

Senator Sadiq Umar
Senator Sadiq Umar, representing Kwara North Senatorial District, in the 10th National Assembly

Addressing the 39th Media Parliament organized by the Kwara State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, on Tuesday, September 12, 2023, Senator Sadiq affirmed the authenticity of the allowances but called for a more reasoned approach to the criticism.

He pointed out that each National Assembly iteration stands on its own. “The 9th Assembly is dead and closed. By the time we closed it on June 11, 2023, its life is closed,” the Senator clarified.

He further explained that any legislations or bills not passed by the end of an assembly’s tenure would have to be reintroduced in the subsequent one, emphasizing the need for each new assembly to start afresh.

This includes new office equipment, such as computers.

Senator Sadiq highlighted the impracticality of expecting new members to inherit old equipment from their predecessors.

“That money you heard about is the one they will use to buy cars and new computers for the new senators, renovate their offices, and pay support staff salaries,” he said, addressing the criticisms.

Touching upon the issue of cars specifically, the Senator remarked, “I am sure you too will be disappointed if your senator goes to Abuja and comes back home with a Tokunbo car.” He argued that the public has expectations for their elected officials to be adequately equipped.

While defending the decision, Senator Sadiq reiterated that he personally has not received the said money but is merely anticipating the necessary tools to facilitate his duties effectively.

The allowance controversy continues to be a topic of national discourse, and it remains to be seen how the Nigerian public will receive these justifications.

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