June 25, 2024

Central News

at the center of it

Ireti Kingibe says ‘Senators weren’t given anything extra’

Raging anger and controversy over Senate President Godswill Akpabio’s “careless talk” on live national television has attracted defence from Mrs. Ireti Kingibe, the senator representing the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in the red chamber.

She says she is yet to receive an extra allowance, as Obong Akpabio’s “jibe” tended to suggest.

While addressing his colleagues on Monday, Akpabio had said money had been sent by Magaji Tambuwal, clerk of the National Assembly, to the senators to enable them “enjoy” their holidays.

After the remark, Akpabio was quickly informed by his colleagues that he was speaking before live television and press cameras. Upon realising the magnitude of his comment, the senate president beat a hasty retreat.

“I withdraw that statement,” he said.

“In order to allow you to enjoy your holiday, the senate president has sent prayers to your mail boxes to assist you to go on a safe journey and return.”

Akpabio’s initial remark elicited angry reactions on social media platforms, with many Nigerians positing that federal lawmakers are stone-deaf and reside in a bubble, amid the economic hardship besetting the average citizen.

But, asked about the senate president’s comment, Kingibe said Akpabio was referring to “statutory” allowances paid to senators. “I did not receive any prayer but I will check my emails for the prayers. Truthfully, I don’t know what he was talking about,” she added.

“Most people assumed that our allowances are being paid — some statutory things that we are paid. I don’t think it was anything extra that we’re supposed to be given. I certainly haven’t seen anything extra.”

Asked to comment on the high cost of governance as it relates to senators’ allowances, the FCT senator said there is nothing she can do about it.

“Yes, truthfully, that is so. I know that I can’t change anything. So I have a constituency office and a development office where I do development programmes for the people. Hopefully, anything extra … 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.”