Senators’ Pay Causes Outrage

Angry Nigerians and stakeholders are calling for the immediate review of the jumbo and outrageous monthly take home of lawmakers, especially senators.

Many Nigerians have been unhappy with the outrageous monthly salary revealed by Senator Shehu Sani some days ago after many years of putting Nigerians in the dark on the package of lawmakers.

Sani, who represents Kaduna Central in the Senate, claimed that a senator receives N13.5 million as running cost every month aside from the N750,000 monthly pay.

“I think what we can say is that the running cost of a senator is N13.5 million every month.

“But what I am saying is that money (N13.5 million per month) must be receipted for what you do with it. But what you are given to go and spend without any accountability is N750, 000.

“The constituency project itself is given on a zonal basis and almost every senator will go with a constituency fund of about N200 million, but it is not the cash that is given to you,” Sani said.

“You will be told that you have N200 million with an agency of government for which you will now submit projects equivalent to that amount. And it is that agency of government that will go and do those projects for you.

“Now, the corruption comes when the projects are not done and the money is taken. But right now, it is difficult to do that because NGOs and transparency groups have come into it. They track every allocation made to you and where they are being used.

“So, it’s becoming difficult for what used to happen in the past to happen now. But I can tell you that I would love a situation where we do away with running costs, constituency projects and leave senators and members of House of Reps with salaries,” Sani had said.

Former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman; former member of the House of Representatives, Dr. Junaid Mohammed; Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), Prof. Itse Sagay; former Presidential candidate and National Chairman of United Progressive Party (UPP), Chief Chekwas Okorie; and national coordinator, Advocate for Peoples Justice, Mr. Giwa Victor, decried the lawmakers’ huge emoluments.

Suleiman urged relevant government agencies to take urgent steps to reduce the remunerations and bring it in tandem with the current realities.

“I will agree that it is not the decision of the National Assembly to decide what they earn. But in the spirit of fairness and considering the situation in the country, senators and members of the House of Representatives should passionately meet the executive to review their remunerations.

“Considering the situation in the country and the fact that the price of oil in the international market has gone down, I think they should reduce it. That money is too outrageous. It’s too killing and it does not make sense. During my days as a minister, I didn’t go home with up to N1 million every month.

“If a minister does not earn that in one month, I don’t think lawmakers should earn it. The N1million I am talking about, my housing allowance was included. Something should be done about the pay and done urgently too.”

Mohammed, on his part, described the lawmakers as “rogues and bunch of thieves who have failed to represent Nigerians.”

“They (lawmakers) have failed to represent the people. They have only succeeded in representing themselves and their interest. If Nigeria is becoming a failed state, members of the National Assembly are directly responsible. Most lawmakers are bunch of thieves. They pocket N14 million every month in the name of serving in the National Assembly.

“They must be real scammers. This is the first time since 1999 that we have some nonsense they call legislative projects. There is no parliament anywhere in the world lawmakers embark on constituency projects. These people are rogues.”

Sagay, on his part, stated that the remunerations of the lawmakers is out of tune with the economic reality in the country, stressing that they could not continue to feed fat at the expense of Nigerians.

“I was the first person to draw attention to these outrageous salaries and allowances. When I did, they were extremely angry and said all sorts of things, knowing in truth that I was right.

“They over reacted instead of being apologetic and having some sense of remorse for what they are doing. Obviously, what they are earning is out of tune with the economic reality in the country.

“These people cannot continue to consume the resources of this country while millions of others are scratching and looking for tiny morsel to eat. It is not sustainable. Something has to be done. We can’t allow it to continue,” he said.

“What they are earning exceeds the minimum wage by 1,666 times and their productivity is almost nil.’’

(The Sun/NAN)

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