The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has said that the concealment in the allowances of public office holders had made it easy for them to cart away an exorbitant amount of money without fear.
The group said this in a statement issued by its Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran, on Tuesday.
According to Adeniran, governors, legislators and public office holders must make it as a duty to disclose their salaries and allowances as Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State has done.
He said: “Lack of government accountability and transparency that, in large measure, has resulted in the high level of corruption in the country. The culture of political and administrative arbitrariness has been the major characteristic undermining good governance in Nigeria.
“Our country witnessed the evolution of a new culture that justified the right of those in powers or with access to power to expropriate public resources without accounting to the public or being responsible for the public good. Increases in over-head costs reduced the amount of funds available for other critical purposes, especially capital projects, the maintenance of physical infrastructures and the procurement of essential supplies and equipment.
“The fiscal crises of the Nigeria state resulting from massive waste of public funds and collapse in international oil prices, built up large external debts and this increases the levels and intensity of poverty.”
Adeniran asserted that, “The absence of transparency in public spending of our Leaders have resulted in massive looting of the national treasury; lack of accountability and gross mismanagement of public enterprises and institutions by leadership, has generated massive debts that have become a major drain on national resources.
“There is a growing global consensus on the devastating effect of corruption on development and good governance. There is an organic interconnection between quality of governance and capacity to drive a sustainable development.”
He concluded by saying that governor El-Ruffai has taken the lead in the transparency system of Leadership and would want other public office holders to emulate such and not just stop at openly declaring but should go a step further to slashing their humongous allowances.
“When we talk about values, it should start from the president, governors and other top government functionaries who would lead with examples, sacrificing the outlandish perks they enjoy and concentrate their attention on how to build infrastructure, develop education and enhance social service delivery that will endanger rapid inclusive economic growth.
“It is cheap, primitive and patronizing for governors to equate distribution of food items to the people at festive occasions with good governance,” he said.
It could be recalled that governor Nasir el-Rufai, on Monday, accepted the challenge of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yabubu Dogara, by releasing details of his security vote, salary and allowances.
The governor released a copy of his February pay slip which indicated that his monthly pay was N470, 521.71 after deductions. According to the pay slip, details of the monthly pay include basic salary, N185, 308.75; hardship allowance, N370, 617.50; gross pay, N555, 926.25, PAYE N85, 404.51; total deduction amounts to N85, 401.51 while the net pay stands at N470, 521.74