THE Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a suit against Senate President Bukola Saraki over payment of N14.2 million allowance to former Plateau State governor Senator Joshua Dariye.

In the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Lagos last Friday, SERAP is asking the court to stop the Senate President from paying former Senator Joshua Dariye N14.2 million monthly allowances while he serves out a 10-year prison sentence for corruption.

Joined as co-defendants in the suit are Dariye and the National Assembly Service Commission.

According to SERAP, Dariye is still receiving the N750,000 salary and N13.5 million monthly allowances from the Nigerian Senate six months after his conviction.

The organisation said a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in June convicted Dariye for diverting N1.162 billion state ecological funds while he was governor.

The former Plateau State governor was sentenced to 14 years in prison, which was later reduced to 10 years by an Appeal Court in Abuja.

Dariye is said to have been paid N85.5 million as allowances since his conviction in June.

SERAP said such payment violates Nigerian laws and international obligations.

SERAP is, therefore, seeking an order restraining Saraki and the National Assembly Service Commission from paying Dariye any further allowances while serving his jail term in Kuje prisons, Abuja.

“SERAP is also seeking a declaration that Dariye’s seat in the Senate is automatically deemed vacant, having being convicted and sentenced to a prison term and currently serving jail term and having been absent at the sessions of the Senate for a period amounting in the aggregate to more than one-third of the total number of days allowed, and that he is, therefore, not entitled to any allowances reserved for a sitting and serving senator.”

In addition, “SERAP is also seeking an order compelling Dariye to return salaries and allowances paid to him as a senator while in prison, having not performed the functions and office of a sitting and serving senator and having not deservedly earned such.”

It argued that a judgment of a competent court of law subsists until set aside on appeal, adding that the Supreme Court of Nigeria has made this point very clear in several cases.

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.