Arewa leaders, under the aegis of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), have condemned the move to pay the new legislators of the National Assembly a whopping sum of N19.8billion as welcome package, saying it is an unpatriotic act that undermines the present reality of the country and the poverty-ridden citizens.
ACF, in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Muhammad Ibrahim Biu, said it does not want to believe media reports that N19.8billion is to be paid to the new legislators as a welcome package, because the reported amount is beyond the fiduciary mark, as it does not take into account the reality of the national economy that has just been exited from recession and struggling to thrive amid myriad of socio-economic challenges that include poverty that comes with unemployment.
Biu pointed out that the welcome package is “morally preposterous, as it makes politics to be the only trade in town, which is not helpful.”
He added: “We must blame the system and the ill-conceived policy of the previous administrations that monetised entitlements of lawmakers and other political appointees and sold the nation’s landed properties meant for the legislators and other political appointees to themselves without considering the aftermath effect.
“The past military administrations were wise enough to build customised Apo Quarters and Ministers houses in Abuja, which were meant to take care of legislators and political appointees to enhance both effectiveness and efficiency in governance.
“Unfortunately, the political leaders in our present democratic system sold these landed properties to themselves, thereby forcing the nation to pay jumbo package to not only new legislators to settle for legislative session, but also to all other political appointees every tenure.
“This has in turn forced some of the legislators and other political appointees to live outside Abuja, in view of the ensuing high cost that makes it impossible for the nation to get value for the money paid to them.”
ACF appealled to the political leaders at all levels of government to consider the interest of the suffering masses in appropriating national and state resources needed for improvement of the economy and development for the good of all, rather than for the enrichment of a few.