Senator Shehu Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has recently expressed his intention to lead the fight for Senatorial pay cuts.
His comments are coming in the midst of public outcry that has followed the release of the N150 billion National Assembly (NASS) budgetary allocation, and the lavish allowances afforded to lawmakers. The most discussed of these allowances include an N8.64 billion-wardrobe allowance.
In an interview with BBC Africa, Sani expressed his discontent with the size of allocations in light of the economic challenges the country is facing.
“We have been on recess and we are returning back to work on Tuesday. I believe this very issue will be addressed by the Senators as it has generated a lot of anger and disenchantment from Nigerians.” said Sani.
Sani, who was recently inaugurated for his first term in office, also spoke of his time as an activist and why he is passionate about fighting against such allocations. The Nigerian Senate has a higher salary than any legislative body in the world. A Senator in Nigeria earns 240 million naira (about 1.7 million US dollars) in salaries and allowances as opposed to the average Nigerian who makes 7,500 dollars a year.
“We are facing serious economic difficulties in the country, and there is a need for everyone to make sacrifices to get our enemy back on track. If this is put before the floor of Senate, certainly Senate will respond to it in accordance with the views of people within their own Senatorial district.”
Sani has been a human rights activist for years for many. He was released from life imprisonment when democracy was restored in Nigeria in 1999. He also noted that he had been fighting for pay cuts long before he became a Senator.
“I identify with the pressure mounting on the Senators to make sacrifices and to see to it that in a country where thousands of civil servants have not yet received three to four months salary it is very unfair for us to be getting such a large sum of money.”
The National Assembly has been on recess and are returning back to work on Tuesday. Sani stated that, “When the Senate is back from recess, you will hear the views of all Senators on all issues including the newspaper wardrobe report.”