Buhari, Osinbajo earn 50% salaries since 2015, no jumbo hardship allowances — Findings

President Muhammadu Buharj and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during a past FEC meeting. (File photo)

By Oluwafemi Popoola

Contrary to media reports indicating that President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, have amassed up to about N651.2 million hardship allowance in the last eight years, checks have revealed that the annual remuneration of the President and his deputy as indicated by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) states both leaders earn around N1,750,000 and N1,500,000 as their monthly salaries respectively.

Still, further checks revealed that both leaders have been earning 50 per cent of their salaries since they assumed office in 2015 as “hardship allowance,” against the backdrop of media reports claiming otherwise.

In essence, the monthly salary for the President has been N850,000, while the Vice President has been earning N750,000 as his monthly salary.

To douse the tension already created by the mischievous reports currently circulating in the media that the President and the Vice President have been enjoying a jumbo financial package that runs into millions of naira as hardship allowance in the last eight years, latest findings have claimed otherwise revealing that both leaders indeed gave up half of their official remuneration since 2015 thereby, invalidating the widely circulated story.

Citing a document obtained from the website of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission, the reports claimed that “President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo may have enjoyed about N651.2 million hardship allowance in the last eight years of the Buhari regime.”

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“The RMAFC document disclosed that the President is entitled to N1.76m annually as a hardship allowance. This means that within a period of eight years, Buhari would have earned N14.08m as hardship allowance.

“The Vice President is entitled to N1.52m annually, which means that in eight years, Osinbajo would have earned N12.16m as hardship allowance.”

But against the unverified claims, it is stating the obvious that already the President and the Vice President are earning 50 per cent of their salaries, they are not earning 100 per cent. Both Nigerian leaders chose to be paid half of their salaries since the inception of the administration, an act commended by many as unprecedented by any public office holder. So, their hardship allowance could not have accumulated to the amount quoted in the report.

However, statutorily, the hardship allowances and other several benefits are contained in the Remuneration Package put together by the RMAFC under previous governments. It was, not done under this government. And such allowances paid to the country’s leaders are legal and known to the laws of the land.

All these allowances are without prejudice, they are constitutional entitlements as public office holders. For having held the offices of President and Vice President, both leaders have some statutorily constitutional entitlements and perks. It is their constitutional right to be paid such allowances after serving their fatherland.

Meanwhile, as approved by Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMAFC), though political office holders are entitled to 300 per cent of their annual salary as a severance package, it is, however, uncertain whether Buhari and Osinbajo would continue with the trends as they prepare to leave the office for incoming government come May 29.