A recent investigation by The PUNCH has revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, state governors, and their deputies may have received approximately N651.2 million in hardship allowances over the past eight years of the Buhari administration. The allowance, which amounts to 50% of the annual basic salary, is also enjoyed by judges in the country.
According to the findings, the president is entitled to an annual hardship allowance of N1.76 million, totaling N14.08 million over eight years. The vice president receives an annual allowance of N1.52 million, amounting to N12.16 million over the same period. State governors are entitled to N1.11 million annually, while their deputies receive N1.06 million. Consequently, the hardship allowances for all 36 state governors would have reached N319.68 million, and for their deputies, it would have amounted to N305.28 million.
This revelation comes at a time when Nigerian citizens are experiencing significant hardship, as noted by labor unions and civil society organizations. These groups have criticized the Buhari administration for exacerbating the suffering of workers and the general population. Factors such as job losses, insecurity, economic hardships, and poor infrastructure have contributed to the challenges faced by Nigerians.
The high cost of living, inflation, and a lack of social safety nets have further worsened the situation. The Trade Union Congress and Nigeria Union of Pensioners have expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of citizens’ welfare and well-being. Additionally, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics indicating that about 133 million Nigerians live in poverty has raised concerns about an impending economic crisis.
While the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, acknowledged the economic hardships faced by Nigerians, he suggested that people would adjust to the situation. He also highlighted that such challenges are not unique to Nigeria but are experienced worldwide, and the demand for increased wages is not exclusive to Nigeria either.
As Nigeria grapples with economic difficulties and widespread poverty, there are calls for urgent action to address the situation and implement measures to alleviate the suffering of the population, particularly those in rural communities. The need for government intervention and support to empower individuals and reduce poverty levels has been emphasized by civil society organizations.