In a shocking display of insensitivity and disconnect from the reality of ordinary Nigerians, the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) has not only defended the exorbitant salaries of National Assembly members and political officeholders but has also attempted to downplay the glaring issue of jumbo paychecks. RMAFC Chairman, Muhammed Shehu, has stooped to a new low by asserting that these politicians do not earn “outrageous salaries,” thereby adding insult to injury for millions of struggling Nigerians.
In a recent interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja, Shehu tried to justify this appalling state of affairs by claiming, “I want to disabuse the minds of Nigerians. It is not true that people are getting jumbo salaries.” Such statements are not only misleading but are a blatant slap in the face to the very people whom RMAFC is supposed to protect from financial exploitation.
This latest defense of unjustifiable salaries is just one more example of RMAFC’s disconnect from the plight of the average Nigerian citizen. Instead of addressing the urgent need to reduce the financial burden on taxpayers, the RMAFC has chosen to defend the indefensible. Chairman Muhammed Shehu’s statements are not only irresponsible but reveal a shocking lack of understanding of the dire economic situation facing many Nigerians today.
It is worth noting that just last June, RMAFC announced plans to increase the salaries of politicians, judicial officers, and public officeholders by a staggering 114 percent. This move was met with widespread outrage and condemnation from a public already struggling to make ends meet.
Shehu also tried to mislead the public by stating that President Bola Tinubu’s salary is less than N1.5 million, while ministers earn less than N1 million. While these figures may technically be their official salaries, they conveniently ignore the plethora of allowances, benefits, and perks that these politicians enjoy, not to mention the widespread corruption and embezzlement scandals that have plagued Nigerian politics for decades.
Furthermore, Shehu’s attempt to shift the blame onto “statutory office running costs” that should be managed centrally by the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) is nothing short of an evasion tactic. It is the responsibility of RMAFC to ensure that public funds are allocated and utilized efficiently, fairly, and transparently. Passing the buck to another entity only further demonstrates the lack of accountability and responsibility within the system.
It is high time that RMAFC reevaluates its role and priorities. Instead of defending the indefensible and attempting to placate the political elite, RMAFC should champion the cause of the Nigerian people. It should take concrete steps to reduce the excessive salaries and benefits of politicians and work towards a fair and equitable system that benefits all Nigerians.
The RMAFC’s defense of jumbo pay for National Assembly members and political officeholders is an affront to the suffering masses of Nigeria. It is a betrayal of the trust placed in this commission to protect the interests of the people. We call on RMAFC to recant its unjustifiable stance and work towards redressing the glaring financial imbalances in Nigeria’s political landscape. The Nigerian people deserve better, and it is high time that RMAFC fulfills its mandate to serve their interests, not those of the political elite.