Nigeria: Bleak Xmas for Reps, constituents as recession bites harder

Christmas will be bleak this year for most members of the House of Representatives and voters in their constituencies, owing to the biting recession, The PUNCH learnt on Sunday.

Findings indicated that with only 13 days to Christmas, lawmakers were still in a quandary on how to meet mounting requests and other pressures from their constituents.

“In the past, usually, beginning from the first week of December, members ordered large food supplies, particularly rice and vegetable oil.

“The report we have now is not heart-warming; not many trucks or huge numbers of bags of rice have arrived in many constituencies this month.

“In their offices, members are fidgety and they complain loudly that they may stay away from their constituencies this season,” a senior National Assembly aide informed The PUNCH in Abuja on Sunday.

Investigations showed that the crash in crude oil price from $100 to below $50 for most part of 2016, invariably affected cash disbursement to the National Assembly, same as it had affected other Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government.

“The celebrated quarterly allowance of N27.9m per member has remained a mirage this year.

“The N115bn National Assembly budget for the year has also not been fully funded; so, the cash crunch is biting harder,” another official told The PUNCH.

One member from Kogi State, Mr. Sunday Karimi, confirmed to The PUNCH that the year had been tough.

Karimi said with the lawmakers themselves facing difficulties, demands such as payment of school fees, food and rent had to remain largely unattended.

On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Interior, Mr. Jagaba Adams-Jagaba, told The PUNCH that the situation called for “necessary adjustment” by everybody, especially members of his constituency.

However, a member from Adamawa State, Mr. Adamu Kamale, told The PUNCH that the challenge he faced with his constituents this season was beyond the rationing of food supplies.

According to Kamale, his Michika/Madagali Constituency, which shares common boundaries with Sambisa Forest, is still being terrorised by Boko Haram insurgents.

“My primary concern is security. My people are living in fear,” he stated.


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