President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo have delivered on their first campaign promise, with the declaration of their assets to the as required by the Constitution.
The 1999 Constitution of the country, as amended, states in Chapter VI Section 140 that a person elected to the office of President shall not begin to perform the functions of that office until he has declared his assets and liabilities as prescribed in the Constitution.
Though the contents of the assets declaration forms filled by the president and vice president were not disclosed as at press time, it was gathered that the forms had already been submitted and duly acknowledged by its Chairman, Sam Saba, on Friday.
Confirming the development in a statement yesterday, head of Buhari’s media team, Garba Shehu, in a statement, said the President and Vice President submitted their assets declaration forms separately on Thursday.
He said Buhari’s declarant identity was given as: President: 000001/2015.
“By declaring their assets, President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo may have not only fulfilled the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution, but also fulfilled the first of their many campaign promises.
“While seeking election into the highest office in the land, the president had promised Nigerians that he would publicly declare his assets as soon as he took over government,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, if information on the website of the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission(RMAFC) is anything to go by, President Buhari will earn a basic monthly salary of N292, 892.08, while Osinbajo will take home N252, 63.04 as his monthly basic salary.
RMAFC is statutorily empowered by Section 32 (d) of Part 1 of the Third Schedule of the Constitution to determine the remuneration appropriate for political office holders. The salaries and allowances are drawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund. The current salary structure and allowances were fixed by the RMAFC in 2007.
The RMAFC website puts the annual basic salaries of the nation’s number one citizen and his that of Vice President at N3, 514, 705 and N3, 031, 572.50 respectively.
The current salary structure and allowances were fixed by the RMAFC in 2007 and there is no indication on the agency’s website that the wages have been reviewed.
For Buhari, with other allowances, the total amount payable monthly is N1, 171,568.33 and N14, 058, 820.00 per annum.
In the case of Osinbajo, he is entitled to a total of N1, 010, 524. 17 monthly, and N12, 126,290.00 per annum.
Besides basic salaries, the nation’s two topmost public officers are also entitled to various regular allowances such as hardship, 50 per cent of the basic salary – N1, 757, 350.50; consistency – 250 per cent, N8, 786, 762.50.
Their irregular allowances include accommodation and furniture. These are provided for by government in Aso Rock, where they will reside during their tenure. However, the nation’s leaders will receive regular duty tour allowance (per night), estacode (per night) and medical allowances when requested.
The allowances are paid periodically, some monthly and a few once in four years. Duty Tour Allowance and Estacode depend on travels.
According to information on the website, the president’s severance gratuity is N10, 544, 115, that is 300 per cent of basic; he is entitled to a leave allowance of N351, 470. 50 (10 per cent of basic salary) and optional motor vehicle loan of N14, 058, 820, of 400 per cent, to be repaid before the expiration of the president’s tenure.
Prof Osinbajo will also get allowances such as motor vehicle, feeding and maintenance, special assistant, personal assistant, domestic staff, entertainment utility, security, newspaper and periodicals, while the number two man’s hardship, consistency, severance gratuity and leave allowance are at N1, 515, 786.25; N7, 578, 931.25; N9, 094, 717.50 and N303, 157.25 respectively.
He will also receive a motor vehicle loan of 400 per cent of his basic salary which is N12, 126, 290; to be repaid at the expiration of his tenure.
Buhari denies travel ban on Jonathan’s ministers, aides
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari dismissed insinuations that he had placed a travel ban on officials of past administrations including ministers from travelling outside the country
He said they are entitled to their full rights and privileges under the Constitution and must not be subjected to any undue harassment and intimidation at the airports or at other points of entry and exit.
Buhari in a statement signed by Shehu, on Saturday, however directed all agencies under the government to run their affairs in full compliance with extant rules, regulations and the constitution of the country.
“Unless otherwise directed by the courts, no law-abiding citizens should be barred from travelling abroad. We must treat fellow citizens with courtesy and respect. Officials at the borders and other points of entry and exit should conduct their affairs in strict compliance with due process. No one has my permission to bar anyone from travelling abroad,” the president said.
In another development, the British Prime Minister, David Cameron has requested President Muhammadu Buhari to attend the forth coming G 7 industrialised nations meeting with a “wish list.”
Head of media of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, in a press statement, yesterday, quoted the prime minister as urging President Buhari to come with a list of areas he would like the country to be assisted.
The G 7 meeting is, scheduled for June 7-9 in Berlin, Germany.
Delivering his goodwill message to the new President at a meeting on Friday shortly after the inauguration, British Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Philip Hammond said his Prime Minister had requested for a list of what Nigeria wanted, to help succeed against the current challenges facing the country.
“We are waiting for your own list,” said the minister on behalf of Cameron.
This meeting was a follow-up to an earlier one between the then President-elect and Prime minister Cameron, at which commitments were given to the in-coming administration in several areas, including the fight against terrorism, power and energy and such matters of common concerns of migration challenges facing the continent as well what he called “intelligence fusion” to secure Africa from global terror.
He also raised the issue of “free trade” between the EU and Africa, a proposal he said enjoyed the support of several countries on the continent and in support of which he sought to enlist the backing of President Buhari.
President Buhari had promised to prepare the government’s aspirations for the summit, which he said he would attend.
Mr. Han Changfu, the leader of the Chinese delegation, who is also China’s Minister of Agriculture, equally urged President Buhari to open avenues for Chinese investments in Nigeria.
China promised to help Nigeria out in several areas including agriculture, power, railways and other infrastructure.
Meanwhile, speaking while receiving President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, Buhari expressed his wish to work with Zuma to fight terrorism in Africa and outside the continent.
President Urges Prayers Over High Expectations
President Muhammadu Buhari has implored Nigerians to pray more for divine help so that their high expectations would become reality.
He also regretted that what the country had earned from 1999 till date was not translated into sustainable development, hence plunging Nigeria into deep trouble.
Buhari, who spoke at the inauguration gala organised at the Presidential Villa on Friday night observed that youth unemployment which had been pervasive throughout the country was a keg of gun powder that needed to be dealt with.
Acknowledging that Nigerians love to pray, he urged them to pray more for luck to enable their expectations to be met particularly in the area of youth unemployment.
“We have realised our problems, we have made the sacrifice. Nigerians pray a lot. We need to pray even more for luck so that their expectations are deeply helped especially the youths.
“I know that more than 65 per cent of Nigeria’s population are youths. Most of them are not employed whether they have been to school or not. This is the keg of gun powder we are sitting on,” he stated.
The president said he was confident that with the assistance of friendly countries and the cooperation of Nigerians, the problems in the country would be surmounted.
“Nigeria’s friends from Europe and America have spoken to me personally and in Africa. They have known our troubles in this country and they are the troubles we identified which I mentioned during my campaign throughout the country.
“Firstly, security, the country has to be secured and efficiently managed. This is what APC is all about. That’s why the legacy parties made the sacrifice of jettisoning their personal ambitions, trying to come together and took the bull by the horn and therefore brought it down and slaughtered it literally.”
Buhari assured that his administration would immediately act to secure the country by articulating a programme of action after reading the handover notes given to him by the previous administration.
Thanking Cameroon, Niger and Chad for physically coming to help Nigeria in the war against terror, the president said, “we are going to articulate our requirements when we study the handover notes from the previous government and consult our immediate neighbours and then consult our friends in Europe and America to help us.
“We have identified the quickest way to go about it, agriculture and mining, to feed ourselves, to get everybody employed and in the process, earn skills. We are going to do that. And God willing, the cooperation promised by our friends and the understanding displayed now by our elite, will make it possible for us to make progress.
“We have made our point to Nigerians and to our friends that we will try and secure Nigeria as soon as possible.”
Buhari appealed to Nigerians to show understanding with his government as he noted that a lot of damage had been done to the country since 1999 whereas the present administration was expected to do more with less resources.
The president stated, “and I ask Nigerians, please, bear with us. A lot of damage has been done. If you can recall what Nigeria earned between 1999 and now, what was the condition of our infrastructure in 1999, what is it now, how come that what we earned is not physically translated into sustained development?
“It is now on us with less resource in terms of debt servicing, less revenue from oil to do much more. But I believe with the cooperation of Nigerians and the cooperation of developed countries and with our natural resources and with our talents, I believe we will make a lot of progress.”
Buhari criticised past elections conducted in the country, noting that politicians simply wrote election results in their sitting rooms and announced them to the media.
He expressed delight that the situation had now changed with the introduction of technology such as the Permanent Voter Card (PVC) and the Card Reader (CR) in the nation’s election process.
“For us in Nigeria to somehow realise this seriousness and agreed to stand firm with the help of technology, the PVC and the CR because the previous exercises, it was the same motion we went through. Those that think they are important, they sit in their sitting rooms or party headquarters, write results, go to the radio houses and television houses and announce results and say whoever didn’t agree should go to court.
“If people are struggling for the next meal, not even tomorrow’s meal, how can they go to court? I went to court three times and ended up in the Supreme Court with the help of Nigerians because they believed in this system and God in His infinite mercy has made it possible this year,” he added.
The gala night was attended by some foreign leaders, Nigeria’s past leaders, members of the Diplomatic Corps, captains of industry and other important personalities.