President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigerians perceive the nation's lawmakers as a bunch of overpaid politicians, adept at stuffing monies in their pockets and no more.

The president's remarks were contained in a short speech delivered by Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed.

Mohammed was representing President Buhari at the launch of the Green Chamber magazine, a publication of the House of Representatives, in Abuja on Wednesday, February 19, 2020.

“Hitherto, the public perception of the national assembly is that of a bicameral legislature where overly comfortable and highly overpaid members merely stuff wads of currency notes into their pockets for little work done,” Buhari said, according to TheCable.

“This wrong perception has resulted partly from the lack of understanding of the enormous work of lawmakers, especially outside the glare of television cameras.”

President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila. [Twitter/@MBuhari]
President Muhammadu Buhari, President of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila. [Twitter/@MBuhari]

The president added that the magazine will pass for the “authoritative source” of anything that goes on in the house, and would make the public to be better informed on their activities.

“In addition, it will help the house to tell its own story, rather than relying on others to take charge of their narrative,” he added.

“It is said that no one can tell your story better than you. This magazine is long overdue. But like the saying goes, it’s better late than never.”

'No propaganda tool'

In his remarks, House Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, said the magazine is “not a propagandist outlet.

“Our service to the people who elected us, is not enabled in any way by having at our beck and call, a media outfit that exists to massage our egos and tell us what we want to hear.

“Public service always benefits from being held to impartial account. Any public service conducted in secrecy is suspect.

President Muhammadu Buhari and Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila [Twitter/@FemiGbaja]
President Muhammadu Buhari and Speaker House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila [Twitter/@FemiGbaja]

“The vision for the Green Chamber Magazine is that through this platform, the 9th house of representatives may contribute to the enthronement of a journalistic tradition that is grounded in the ideals of honest reporting and focused on making real the old promise of open government.”

In 2018, then Senator Shehu Sani blew the lid on how much lawmakers earn in salary and allowances and was despised by some of his colleagues for revealing what has long been called 'jumbo pay' by a cross section of Nigerians.