Each of the 34 members of the state assembly collected a car loan as well as another vehicle in the name of committee work.
A state lawmaker receives, once in four years, a vehicle loan of N5.3 million according to documents obtained from the Revenue Mobilsation and Allocation Commission (RMAFC).
The APC-led government of Malam Nasiru El-Rufai had purchased 34 Camry 2015 model cars for the 34 state lawmakers.
The cars are bought under the pretext of committee work. The state bought 34 vehicles for the 34 committee chairmen; each member chairs a committee.
All the lawmakers including the speaker and deputy speaker are chairmen of standing committees of the House in a special arrangement created for the current members of the House.
This has come as a shock to many as the current administration has vowed to do away with all practices of the past administrations that incur costs for the government.
A state legislator receives about N6 million per annum, comprising basic salaries and other perquisites, according to a Daily Trust analysis based on records obtained from RMAFC.
Analysis of the RMAFC documents shows that a state legislator receives an annual basic salary of N1.34 million; accommodation, N802,335; vehicle maintenance, N267,445; and recess allowance, N133,772.
The lawmaker also receives, once in four years, a vehicle loan of N5.3 million, furniture allowance of N2 million and N2.6 million as severance gratuity.
Other yearly emoluments are N334,306 for constituency allowance; N334,306 for domestic staff; N133,772 for utilities; and N66,861 as newspapers allowance.
In addition, the state lawmaker is entitled to N25,000 as duty tour allowance (DTA) per night and $600 estacode while on foreign trips per night.
The speaker, according to our findings, heads the committee on special duties while the deputy heads the committee on general purpose.
The assembly, it was learned, inherited the arrangement from the previous dispensation when 34 committees were created by the then Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – led house to give all members positions as committee chairmen in an arrangement that would ensure they enjoy the perquisites of the office in equal measure.
Spokesperson of the state assembly Nuhu Machu Shadalafiya confirmed to Daily Trust the lawmakers having collected car loan, they were also given cars as committee chairmen in the house.
He said the car loan given to members is to serve them and their families because it is being deducted from their monthly salaries.
“There are 34 members and 34 committees in the House of Assembly while we were also given 34 cars. This implies that every member was given a car as a committee chairman and the cars are strictly meant for committee work,” he said.
But the chairman of Kaduna State chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Adamu Ango said the purchase was unacceptable and “insensitive to the plight of the people.”
The House of Representatives with 360 members has 96 standing committees while the speaker and his deputy are not assigned any committees apart from the selection committee which comes with their leadership of the House.
Some of the committees our correspondents observed, have conflicting functions like having a committee for commerce and industry and another for market development; having a committee for special duties and another for general purpose; one for business rules and another for ethics and privileges, one for appropriation and another for budget and planning, among others.
Our correspondents also discovered that even with the 34 committees, there has not been a single bill initiated by members of the House since its inauguration as the 15 bills passed so far by the state legislature are all executive bills.
The 34 standing committees of the Kaduna assembly are education and student affairs, poverty alleviation, due process and SDGs, information and home services, women affairs and social development, youth and sports, culture and tourism, commerce and industry, science and technology, power and steel, security and intelligence, house services, ethics and privileges, agriculture, health, and environment.
Others are rural development, market development, works, housing and transport, special duties, general purpose, pension matters, public petition, Christian affairs, Islamic affairs and hajj, business rules, judiciary, water resources, appropriation, local government and chieftaincy affairs, public accounts, lands and survey, finance, as well as budget and planning.
Sadalafiya also confirmed to our correspondents that there has been no bill initiated by any member so far but said he was aware that four of his colleagues were about to do so.
“The house has received about 23 executive bills and has passed 15 of them. Members have not initiated any bill but I know of four members who have their bills on ground to present to the assembly,” he said.
He said there are over 56 motions from members out of which 11 have been treated and passed to the executive for implementation.
Most of the executive bills our correspondents found out have received speedy endorsements from the members including controversial ones like the anti-begging and hawking law as well the bill on regulation of religious preaching.
As committee chairmen, all the members of the House have been given official cars in line with their status and as members have been given car loans.
The chairman house committee on information explained that the official cars given to each committee member is government property except if a member choose to buy when government auctions it at the expiration of tenure.
Majority leader of the assembly, Haruna A. Inuwa however insisted that the assembly is not a rubber stamp of the executive arm of government in the state.
He said “We are not rubber stamps, we are doing our work according to the laid down legal procedures.”
The majority leader said those insinuating the members are rubber stamps are only trying to cause friction between them and the state governor.
He said not all executive bills have been passed explaining that some that did not pass legislative scrutiny like the bill on establishment of Kaduna state air force institute’ have not seen the light of the day.
The Second Republic Speaker of Kaduna State House of Assembly Alhaji Iro Abubakar Danmusa told Daily Trust that during their time the legislature had very few committees.
He said unlike what obtained now, no chairman of any committee was given a car. He explained that no official car was attached to any committee.
Danmusa said members were using their personal vehicles for committees work.
He said “When I was the speaker, other speakers of Kano and Lagos were using Mercedes Benz cars, but I chose an ordinary Peugeot 404 which I used throughout my tenure.”
On why most state assemblies nowadays are extension of the executives, Danmusa said this was because most of our present assembly belongs to same party with the executives as such there can’t be any dragging between the two.
“In the first place, you know we belong to two different political parties. I was in NPN and the Governor (Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa) was from PRP. Certainly, we couldn’t have become his stooges. We see things differently. We enjoyed certain level of independence and couldn’t do anything against the law,” he said.