Nigerians are clearly outraged by the revelation that each senator in the National Assembly takes home the sum of N13.5 million monthly as running cost and they are not holding back in condemning the bogus payment to lawmakers.
Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District had in an interview with TheNEWS magazine revealed that each Nigerian senator gets N13.5 million monthly for unspecified expenses in addition to the N750, 000. 00 official consolidated salaries and allowances of the lawmakers as approved by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Allocations Commission, RMFAC.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Yusuf Ali, said the allowance is insensitive and inconsiderate, especially when Nigeria’s minimum wage is considered.
Mr. Ali said: “Even if there were no mass unemployment and if the economy were buoyant, such allowance is totally unrelated to our circumstances; it is very insensitive.”
Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), a Lagos based human right lawyer, said the revelation has shown that the Nigerian Senate is the highest paid in the world and blamed the RMAFC and Budget Office for failing in their responsibilities.
He also said: “Apart from the monthly package of N13.5m, each senator is given the opportunity to execute constituency projects to the tune of N200m per annum. However, the disclosure made by Senator Sani does not cover the allowances for cars, housing, wardrobe and furniture running to several millions of naira approved for each senator.”
Prof. Itse Sagay, the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti- Corruption (PACAC) said: “I’ve always said they earn too much. This figure by Sanni does not include constituency allowances, which is in billions of naira.
“We still have budget padding from which millions are made by them. By the time you put all that together, you can see that these people are collecting a huge chunk of the Nigerian budget.”
Similarly, the president for Campaign for Democracy group, Usman Abdul, told The Punch in an interview that the Senator's monthly allowance would conveniently pay the tuition of 100 undergraduates.
He said, “You can take good care of over 100 graduates from a senator’s salary. The legislature should deliberate on the abject poverty and unemployment in the country.”
In addition, Mr. Jiti Ogunye, a Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Jiti Ogunye, said: “What Senator Shehu Sani said has confirmed the long-held fears of Nigerians that Nigerian legislators, both at the state and national levels, have been short-changing Nigerians.
“They are not expected to use that elevated position to serve their own interest at the expense of public interest. They are not expected to allow their self-consideration to override their commitment to abiding by the law.”
The Executive Chairman, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, Mr. Debo Adeniran, said Nigerians had a right to be displeased because they had not been getting a fair deal from the lawmakers.
Adeniran said, “The outcry wouldn’t have been if the legislators have been living up to the expectation of their constituents. Nigerians don’t see the lawmakers as people who are representing their interest.”
He added that Nigerians had a right to be displeased because they had not been getting a fair deal from the lawmakers.
Mr. Adeniran said, “The outcry wouldn’t have been if the legislators have been living up to the expectation of their constituents. Nigerians don’t see the lawmakers as people who are representing their interest.”
The Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Monday Ubani, said Nigerians must demand a review of the lawmakers’ earnings.
Mr. Ubani said: “It means that Nigerians have not been getting a fair deal from our legislators. If a single person will be earning that kind of money in a country where the minimum wage is N18,000; something has to be done. We need to insist on a review of these jumbo allowances.”