Nigerian senators are angry with the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio after exposing that they received bribe money from ministerial screening in a video that went viral on Wednesday, SaharaReporters has learnt.
Akpabio is heard in the video telling members of the upper legislative chamber that an undisclosed amount of money had been sent to each of them to use to enjoy their holidays.
Akpabio said this while addressing his colleagues before the adjournment of a motion moved by one of the senators.
In the viral video, Akpabio said, “In order to enable all of us to enjoy our holidays, a token has been sent to our various accounts by the clerk of the national assembly.”
But when his statement sparked a rowdy moment on the floor of the Senate, he rephrased the statement and said, “I withdraw that statement. “In order to allow you to enjoy your holiday, the senate president has sent prayers to your mailboxes to assist you to go on a safe journey and return.”
However, SaharaReporters learnt that the senators are upset that Senate President Akpabio exposed that they are getting bribe money from ministerial screening. The aggrieved senators are unhappy about the ridicule and embarrassment the former Akwa Ibom governor’s unguarded statement has brought to them.
Sources in the National Assembly told SaharaReporters that N2 million was sent to each of the senators by Akpabio who had received N1 billion from ministerial nominees.
SaharaReporters learnt that the senators described Akpabio’s action as blackmail, to ensure they received the stick from their constituents for a “paltry sum” while he had pocketed the bulk of the bribe money paid to them.
“Senators are upset with Senate President Akpabio for exposing the bribe money they get for ministerial screening. A paltry N2 million was sent to each of them. They are angry that now Nigerians know how they are bribed to allow ministerial nominees to take a bow and go,” the source said.
“The Senate President collected over N1 billion from the screened ministers and sent only N2 million to the account of each of 109 senators, totalling N218 million,” another source said.
“He never disclosed to the senators the source of the N2 million each sent to their accounts. Rather, what Akpabio did was to blackmail the Senators on Monday night in an open live television cast that money had been sent to the accounts of Senators for holidays. Then the following morning, senators received only N2 million each in their accounts while the senate president pocketed hundreds of millions of naira.
“What a shame and highest treachery and blackmail by the Senate President. Senators are getting ready for a battle with him because this has pitched Senators against their constituents who never knew that they were given only N2 million each for the so-called ‘allowance for holidays/vacation.’”
SaharaReporters reported on Monday evening that the Senate had confirmed 45 out of the 48 ministerial nominees of President Bola Tinubu, only failing to confirm the nomination of the immediate past Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, former Deputy Governor of Taraba State, Senator Abubakar Danladi and ministerial nominee from Delta State, Stella Okotete.
According to Akpabio, the Senate did not clear the three because of security reports.
Former governors of Rivers, Zamfara, Osun and Plateau, Nyesom Wike, Bello Matawalle, Gboyega Oyetola and Simon Lalong respectively were some of the nominees confirmed.
This scandal amid rising inflation and astronomical rise in prices of food in markets which have subjected Nigerians to deeper poverty, especially since the removal of fuel subsidies by President Bola Tinubu-led government.
Before the President directed the review of palliatives to cushion the effects of the fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians, ‘extremely poor’ Nigerian households were promised N8,000 monthly for six months while the Senate and House of Representatives plan to spend N40 billion on vehicles for members.
At least 107 units of the 2023 Toyota Land Cruiser model and 358 units of the 2023 Toyota Prado model would be procured for federal lawmakers.
Meanwhile, Nigerians on X, formerly known as Twitter, have lambasted Akpabio and members of the National Assembly over the money sent to them to use for their holidays.
Reacting to the disclosure of the holiday allowance for the federal lawmakers, a Twitter user, @CallMeHabeeb wrote, “See this bunch of crooks! Y’all wanna enjoy holiday while the country is bleeding right? What happened to making sacrifice for the betterment of your people?”
Another user, @da_gentlePrince said, “This what we deserve as there are no plans to move forward. Shame.”
Referring to the N8,000 monthly palliative President Bola Tinubu-led Nigerian government promised to give to 12 million poor Nigerian families, to cushion the harsh effects of fuel subsidy removal, another Twitter user, @uzo_agu said, “But they have not approved your ₦8000/month palliative. Loooooooool.”
For @arkymdskank, “All road leads to the money for these ones. But we cannot criticize them because tomorrow they will say we need to apologize to help the nation.”
Also, @mrbabs01 said, “Hmmm.. I’m speechless, so now they are not even afraid to say it loud to the public,” to which @iykemann responded and said, “Why should they be afraid when the most inexplicable things happen here? Why won’t they announce stuff like this ‘small’ money openly? They have no regard for people who ‘elected’ a drug lord as President and accepted a man caught on camera receiving bribes as ruling party Chair.”
Also reacting, @maduemezi said, “And the masses are suffering,” while @DavidHarts2 said, “They removed “Subsidy” to save money, but goes behind doors to share the money saved. While the common man suffers the effect of the “Fuel Subsidy” they removed.”
Another tweep, @AhmadArchy wrote, “Neglecting The Majority Poor Civil Servants Suffering In Considerably Least Wages, Which Resulted To Higher Disparity Between Leaders & The Masses. There4, Even If It’s Just A Pretending Excuses, These Were Among Top Reasons Reveals By Military In Overthrowing Civilian Government.”