Peter Uzoho and Solomon Elusoji
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria and Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Professor Itse Sagay, has continued his vitriolic war of words with the Senate, describing the upper chamber as â€œa merciless and ruthless organisation.â€
Sagay said this thursday during an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the Hallmarks of Labour Foundation Reunion Symposium held at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Victoria Island, Lagos.
In recent times, the Professor of Law has been critical of the allowances enjoyed by the senators and House of Representatives members, which according to him, is a â€œcrime against humanity.â€
He said the senators were just out to â€œtotally suck out the blood of Nigeria for themselves,â€ adding that they behave like locusts bent on destroying a fruitful harvest.
Sagay said: â€œThey have no mercy, they have no conscience; they simply want to behave like locust just to finish everything within their environment for themselves. Thatâ€™s totally unacceptable and Iâ€™m not going to relent on this thing.
â€œLook at the allowance they take, forget the amount. Why would a whole senator collect money for his wardrobe? Is he naked? Does a labourer, who is taking just 18,000 a month get it? Heâ€™s the one who needs the money for wardrobe allowance. But these opulent, rich, super-rich people are still collecting from you and I to cloth themselves; theyâ€™re collecting money from you and I to buy newspapers; they said theyâ€™re suffering hardship by working inside chambers that are fully air-conditioned with luxurious cushions, with people serving them left, right and centre, with food and drinks available.â€
Sagay maintained that the loots that constitute allowance, which he said were not taxable, can be distributed among the poor and not the â€œrichest, most opulent senatorsâ€, who he said continue to suck the country dry with â€œexcuses and fraudulent claims.â€
â€œIf you ask them what is their income they will tell you theyâ€™re earning salary which is taxable, which is very little – about one to two million a month,â€ he stressed. â€œThey will never talk about those allowances which bring their income into tens of millions. We havenâ€™t come near what senators and House of Representatives people are really taking. We are talking about allowances; there are many other secret things that they are taking that have not been exposed. If you go to that gentle man who was suspended from the House of Representatives last year (referring to Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin), he has a huge story to tell of the billions that nobody knows about that theyâ€™re collecting. So there will be no rest until there is justice.â€
Also speaking, former Minister of Petroleum, Professor Philip Asiodu, who delivered a paper on â€œPositioning Education in Nigeria for Peace and Development,â€ suggested the formulation of a â€˜National vision and Agenda for 2040.â€™
Asiodu explained that it was critically important to elaborate the vision now to enable the leader mobilise the broad masses of the people to move forward to progress, unity and greatness.
He pointed out that the essential element in the vision 2040 would include:
National Economic Perspective Plan 2020-2040; Adoption and Implementation of all the Aspects of Good Governance; Necessary Urgent Amendment of the 1999 Constitution; and Universal Compulsory Good Quality Education for all Citizens up to the age of 18 years.
Other components of the vision, according to him were; maintenance of Nigeria as a secular State and religious freedom for the individual; a language policy to promote national integration; eradication of corruption in all facets of national life and adoption of a realistic
personal income policy, among others.