President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has warned that there could be anarchy if the Senate is scrapped as being clamoured by some Nigerians.
Rather, he challenged those who are not happy with the senators in the current 9th Senate to vote them out in 2023.
Lawan stated this on Friday while declaring open a retreat for the top management staff of the National Assembly and National Assembly Service Commission in Abuja.
The three-day retreat was organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies in partnership with the Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre.
He described the Senate as a leveller that ensures that all the states are represented by three senators each unlike the House of Representatives where states with higher population produce a higher number of lawmakers.
The Senate President also faulted the argument of those clamouring for the scrapping of the Senate because of the perceived jumbo pay being received by the senators, as he noted that the annual budget of the National Assembly is less than one per cent of the nation’s 2021 budget.
He said, “Without the National Assembly and the legislature across the country, what you have is not democracy anymore. So, the value of the legislature and National Assembly to Nigerians is democracy. If you take out the legislature, it might not be a dictatorship but certainly not a democracy.
“So when we always debate on jumbo pay and not the functions of the National Assembly – what we are able to do and what we are not able to do. Ask for what you think we should be doing rather than saying close down the Senate or the National Assembly. Do you understand the implications of what would happen if we close the Senate? I’m not saying (this) because I’m in the Senate. So if you say close down the Senate, there will be a day when people will cry foul.
“In a budget of N13tn, the National Assembly will get about N125bn to N128bn. That is less than one per cent. So where is the remaining 99 per cent? I’m not here to defend the National Assembly but I’m here to encourage the debate on what it means to us as a country.
“If you don’t like the set of members in the ninth National Assembly, change all of us in 2023. Get better people. Let’s support the system to function.”
Lawan assured Nigerians that the 2021 budget would be passed in the second week of December while the Petroleum Industry Bill and the amendments to the 1999 constitution would be ready in 2021.