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Saraki Justifies Payment Of Salaries, Allowances To Convicted Sen. Dariye

The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has justified the payment of salaries and allowances to convicted Plateau Central senator, Joshua Dariye.However, our correspondent observed that when a Senator or member of the House of Representatives is on suspension, the leadership of both chambers normally stops allowances or salaries or both to the suspended lawmakers.When Senator Ali Ndume and Abdulmumin Jibrin were on suspension, their allowances and salaries were suspended.However, justifying payment of salaries and allowances to the convicted former Governor, the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, said Saraki does not possess such power except the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Jistice hands in a request.Olaniyonu added that until AGF makes a request for suspension of salaries and allowances of Dariye, Saraki cannot go ahead to declare the seat vacant.Olaniyonu was reacting to a lawsuit instituted by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, asking the Federal High Court in Lagos to stop the Senate President from paying Dariye his monthly allowances while he serves out a prison sentence.Dariye was jailed for 14 years in the first instance but an appeal reduced it to 10 years.Olaniyonu said: “The SP (Senate President) does not have such powers except a request is made to him by the AGF who prosecuted the case and get court judgement. The request will be accompanied by the court judgement.“The SP can then refer the matter to the Legal Department for advice. This will also require the SP to inform INEC about this development with a consequent need to declare the seat of such a senator vacant and a by-election in the district.”

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