HC Deb 31 July 1906 vol 162 cc675-6
MR. O'NEILL (Antrim, Mid.)

To ask the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies why the allowances to officers in Northern Nigeria have been reduced from 5s. per diem to 4s., although it is stated in a G. S. O. that an allowance of 5s. per diem would be temporarily issued until permanent buildings were made, and these buildings have not yet been erected.

(Answered by Mr. Churchill.) The system of giving a daily allowance, in addition to salary, to civil and military officers was adopted in 1900 on the establishment of the Protectorate of Northern Nigeria, and was an extension to civilians of the arrangement under which the officers of the military force previously in occupation of the country had been regarded as on service t"In the field;" and had been allowed 5s. a day as "field allowance."the conditions of the grant were laid down as follows—Permanent houses have not yet been built in Northern. Nigeria for the accommodation of Government officers, who will at first have to live in temporary wooden houses sent out from this country; and, in view of the inconvenience to which they will thus be exposed, and of the comparatively high cost of living under the existing conditions in Northern Nigeria, a "local allowance" of 5s. a day will for the present be paid to officers for each day of residential service, but this arrangement, will be subject to revision when the present conditions in these respects are improved, and officers are provided with permanent quarters. Large sums have been expended in successive years on the building of houses for the European staff, and the sending out of temporary wooden houses has been discontinued. As regards. Lokoja and Zungeru, the two chief centres of administration, Sir Frederick Lugard considered no further houses necessary last year, and in the current year has asked for and obtained sanction to only one building of importance. In the more distant stations the erection of permanent quarters is making steady progress. The-allowance of 5s. a day has always been, understood to be temporary, and the conditions quoted above are taken from the "general conditions of service," which are liable to alteration from time to time as circumstances require. It has been felt for some time that the circumstances of Northern Nigeria were now such as to admit of officers working there being treated less as though they were on service "In the field," and more like officers holding similar positions in the other West African Colonies, and it has accordingly been decided to take steps for the gradual abolition of the allowance in question.