Ekweremadu condemns governors’ ‘security votes’; demands N50,000 minimum wage

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu

The reward system that pegs minimum wage at N18, 000 for civil servants, while state governors rake in “as much as N2 billion” as bogus security vote is antithetical to Nigeria’s anti-corruption campaign, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu has said.

Mr. Ekweremadu spoke in Ibadan, Oyo State capital, Friday evening, where he delivered the 4th National Public Service Lecture of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association, on the
theme: “Federalism and The Legal Framework for Combating Corruption in Nigeria.”

The excerpt of Mr. Ekweremadu’s lecture was made available to PREMIUM TIMES by his spokesperson, Uche Anichukwu, on Saturday.

Mr. Ekweremadu decried “a situation where the minimum wage is pegged at N18,000, while some State governors could pocket as much as N2 billion under the cover of Security Vote.”

“When a man who earns N18, 000 cannot buy a bag of rice, how then can such a person take care of his family? Does it make sense to him if you tell him not to find alternative means of catering to the needs of his family?

“Is it not also possible to abolish the Security Vote and replace it with Contingency Vote so it can be appropriated and accounted for,” queried Mr. Ekweremadu.

While calling for abolition security vote, the lawmaker proposed N50, 000 minimum wage nationwide.

Some states have not still implemented the N18, 000 minimum wage policy, introduced by Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Mr. Ekweremadu did not comment on the huge earnings lawmakers like him receive annually, a subject often criticised by Nigerians.

Speaking further, the Deputy Senate President, made case for decentralization of the anti-corruption fight to reflect the essence of Nigeria’s federalism.

Mr. Ekweremadu said, “I wish to make the following suggestions: Decentralization of federal anti-corruption agencies, establishment of State anti-corruption agencies, domestication of anti-graft laws, enthronement of fiscal federalism, decentralised policing, establishment of State orientation agencies, State social intervention/security schemes, State prisons, true economic reforms and public participation in the anti-corruption war.

“Sadly, only Kano state currently has a state agency to fight corruption- the Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission. This should be emulated, and urgently too, if we must make a headway in the war against graft.

“Similarly, a Code of Conduct Bureau should be established in the states with a Code of Conduct Tribunal to handle cases of civil servants in the states and local government councils. Besides setting up such agencies, there is also the need for the states to domesticate auxiliary federal laws such as the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), Fiscal Responsibility Act, among others, to help curb corruption. Rivers, Oyo, Anambra, Enugu, Ekiti, Lagos, and Ondo are the only States that have so far adopted the ACJA.”

According to the Senator, a situation where the two anti-corruption agencies in the country, Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission, ICPC and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, do not have presence in the entire country, makes the fight against corruption
ineffective.

He noted, for instance, that the ICPC has just six zonal offices and nine state offices, in addition to its headquarters in Abuja, while the EFCC had offices in only eight states, apart from its headquarters in Abuja.

“These do not scratch the surface, as they are grossly inadequate for a vast area like Nigeria and leave the agencies highly overstretched.”

He added that, “Entrenching fiscal federalism will replace the current ‘feeding bottle’ arrangement where the centre holds tightly to the purse string and feeds the components, with a better arrangement that is predicated on self-reliance, hard work, enterprise, resourcefulness, ingenuity, taxation, transparency, and accountability.

“In the various kindred/family meetings, the illiterate farmer or palm wine tapper becomes literate when it comes to how the fines and levies he contributed were spent because it is the product of his sweat, not a windfall from anywhere”.

Listing the various mineral resources in the 36 States of the country, Mr. Ekweremadu noted that “The good thing is that every State of the federation is sufficiently endowed to survive from its own resources and sweat.”


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  • kinsly

    Useless Senator. Deputy Senate president for 10yrs yet nothing to show for it except his pocket.

    • Comfortkay

      God bless you Sir

      • Otile

        Two tribalists congratulating each other, owon omo Odua e ku rire oo.

    • Odarije

      If anyone is useless , it’s you and your jealous morons like comfortkay .

    • xandril

      Exactly what is wrong with our reasoning? Why are the poor so wicked to the poor. The man is already rich and is trying to advocate for the low income earners and here you are ranting

      • Musbau Hamzat

        has he ready to reduce his allowance in senate? Change must begin with him

  • Comfortkay

    Excuse me what exactly is this man Ekweremadu talking about, he sholud tell us how much he earns and how much he needs in a month now that he is talking about 18,000 Naira minimum wages which many states did not recognise for payment.

    • Odarije

      You are mentally sick. That’s why you cannot understand common sense reasoning. Well, common sense is not common. That’s why we have morons and chicken brains like you .

      • Musbau Hamzat

        He is not mentally sick at all. He is asking a good question. He should tell the Nigerian how much he is earning. Comfortkay is not condemning his view but change must start from him. He is in Sanate for long when they enjoy sharing the so called security vote but now there is no more free money. Many issues need to be addressed including Senate budget.

      • Comfortkay

        Your families are morons and chicken brains and that is why your belongs to the east.

  • Rommel

    Nigeria is indeed a difficult place,governors refusing to pay workers N18,000.00 per annum minimum wage or $679.249 , yet see how much they are pocketing as security votes that is unaccounted for,this is immoral and very wicked.

    • Odarije

      That’s what we experience in the zoo called Nigeria ………

      • Musbau Hamzat

        Nigeria now is Zoo. When your brothers are being attached in South Africa you call Nigeria Govt to act, Why not calling on Biafraud. Nonsense! if u do not have any good contribution, leave the forum. Rubbish!

    • tsunami1earthquake

      I can’t agree more!

    • John A

      You are NOW a confirmed wailer, so the system is immoral and wicked at the same time?
      I thought you have been championing this crazy system since?
      You thought Jonathan was the sole problem of Nigeria, now what is happening is business as usual, the CHANGE slogan has disappeared.

      • Julius

        Jonathan is not the sole problem just a born shameless thief that has contributed hugely to it. The change we voted for is slowly working…the revelation of the level corruption with the politician and the Judiciary is one part of it. Stay tuned.

      • Arabakpura

        Your comment does not add meaning to the conversation! We should stop distracting meaningful and serious conversations! For some issues, Jonathan was a nuisance for sure, but the issues at play here deserve serious attention!

  • Julius

    lolz, see me , see nonsense. Ekwere is talking , condemning things !. The man that got himself to his position by fraud is talking ? Na wa oo

  • El Patron

    Charity must begin at home. Ekweremadu has been a senator since 2003 and deputy SP since 2007, frankly his institution has not helped the plight of Nigerians any more than they have harmed us. 17 years after democracy and almost 14yrs after Ekweremadu became a senator, we are yet to see the budget of the national assembly and he is here talking about accountability for the governors’ security vote. He should first compel saraki and dogara to reveal their budgets, then the pressure will make the governors comply.

  • Kamalu

    A good wobbly point by Ekweremadu regarding the humongous amount being stolen by Governors under the garb of Security votes. However because it is an issue that has a relationship with the profligacy of the National Assembly, he gave it a wobbly pinch.
    Secondly, If we take the performance of State Independent Electoral Commissions, Ekweremadu’s proposals for State EFCC and Code of Conduct Bureau may never receive support from any close observer to our democracy because those bodies will simply become pawns in the hand of State Governors and the political parties which controls the states.
    Overall I think Senator Ekweremadu deserve praise for daring to contemplate on subjects that key thieving political office holders consider “no go areas” for public discuss.

  • Mizch

    Whoever does not agree with his views, please send in your opinions. Let us move forward.

  • kayode Olufade

    He speaks correctly about security votes and governors, he also has a point on minimum wages: it isn’t sustainable. State CCBs and antigraft agencies would’ve made a lot of sense but current constitutional provisions as per the executive arm of government will just make governors more stronger. For such to take place such agencies should be under the judiciary and the appointment of judicial officers shouldn’t have nothing to do with the governor.

  • PolyGon2013

    Submit a bill to scrap it. Do not forget to submit a bill to cut Senators/Reps salary as well. All the public stunt does not mean a damn thing.

  • Keen Observer

    Ekweremadu knows what to do to ensure NASS look into these very sterling issues of N18, 000 minimum wage, as well as N2 billion governors security votes for review. Enough of media criticisms, trials & publications w/out attendant follow up steps.
    Fine it’s a very good thing that he delve into a sensitive & seemingly ”No go area” in the polity of Nigeria. he should be commended for daring out. The governors if kicked by this proposal should also make attempts to sponsor a bill through their stunts in NASS to propose a review in the VERY BOGUS Salaries, Emoluments & Allowances that our Legis-looters cum Execu-thieves are receiving.
    We know likes of Ekweremadu, Saraki, David Mark etc & many senators & reps in NASS has perfected ways of siphoning billions of naira from budgets & other means of self enrichment. But the PMB’s govt seems constraint to expose these dare devils & master looters. Reasons i cannot fathom.