Commercial banks have sent marketers, mostly females after newly-elected senators and members of the House of Representatives in Abuja to open discussions on investments and other business deals.
The energetic, sweet-talking and mostly female marketers, flooded the International Conference Centre, venue of an ongoing induction course for the new arrivals on Monday.
Investigations by The PUNCH showed that the target of the banks largely was to woo the lawmakers to open accounts with them.
Some of the smartly dressed marketers also offered loan opportunities they claimed their banks could guarantee with “friendly repayment terms.”
Over 290 members of the House for example, are newcomers, out of the total of 360.
In the Senate, about 69 senators are also newcomers, out of 109.
Findings showed that the marketers started tracing the lawmakers since Sunday night when Senate President, David Mark, declared the induction programme open at the Transcorps Hotel, Abuja.
“They flooded the Congress Hall of the hotel Sunday night.
“They didn’t give the lawmakers breathing space, as they offered all sorts of facilities (loans) and seeking to maintain their accounts,” a senior legislative aide confided in The PUNCH on Monday.
A member of the House earns around N27.9m every quarter as official allowance.
Presiding officers and other principal officers receive higher figures.
This excludes a monthly salary of N1m.
Senators collect over N30m as quarterly allowance and receive higher salaries than their House counterparts.
The PUNCH gathered that the practice over time was for the banks to compete among themselves to attract as many of the lawmakers as possible to maintain the lawmakers’ accounts.
“In the end, many lawmakers get loans in amounts ranging from N50m to upward of N200m.
“They will be here for four years and it is understandable that the banks see this as a window for quick returns,” one National Assembly official told The PUNCH.
However, investigations indicated that there were several cases of lawmakers who failed to repay the loans before the expiration of their tenure, leading to disputes between the two sides.
In 2011, a particular new generation bank withheld the severance packages of many members and also seized their assets, owing to failure to meet up with their loan obligations.
One marketer, who gave her name simply as Elina, told The PUNCH that there was nothing wrong with seeking for “investment opportunities.”
She argued that being new in Abuja, most of the members needed information on sources of funding to assist them in settling down for the business of legislation.
“We know how it is; there will be accommodation challenges.
“Some need funding for transportation even before they get their official votes for vehicles and other support services.
“So, the banks are there to provide these support services by way of funding,” she added.
The National Assembly and its bureaucracy, including the National Assembly Service Commission, has a total budget of N120bn this year.
The figure was a drop from the N150bn it had enjoyed since 2007.