Ok, it’s official—a senator of the federal republic of Nigeria is among the highest paid politicians on the planet. That’s according to Senator Shehu Sani.
In an interview with TheNEWS magazine, Sani made the following revelations:
1. Senators are handed N13.5M monthly as running cost
The senator who represents your constituency is given N13.5million monthly as running cost.
'Running cost' here is open to different interpretations.
“I think what we can say is that the running cost of a senator is N13.5 million every month,” Sani said.
There is no specific instruction concerning what this N13.5million should be used for, Sani said.
2. You have to tender receipts specifying how this N13.5million was spent
According to Sani: “What I am saying is that that money (N13.5 million per month) must be receipted for what you do with it”.
3. This N13.5million is separate from the basic salary of the senators
There is a certain N750,000 which the senators are asked to spend without tendering any receipts, however.
“But what you are given to go and spend without any accountability is N750,000.00,” Sani said.
This 750k is the basic salary of the senators.
“The only money you are not expected to account for is your salary and the salary of a senator is about N750, 000.00 per month. The other one, the running cost of office must be accounted for. You must provide a receipt for every expense you make,” Sani said.
4. Senators are entitled to N200m for constituency projects
As usual, we’d let Sani do the talking:
“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.
“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”.
5. There is financial pressure on the senators from their constituents
According to senator Sani, they wouldn’t need all of this jumbo pay if people stop begging them for money and if people stop expecting them to build roads and bridges.
“When the people come to you, they want you to build roads, dig boreholes, build hospitals, schools, give money, pay school fees for them. Now, if we have a society in which people will stop asking legislators to do those things, then there is no need (for the allowances).
“But funny enough, if you are very active in the national assembly in making laws and you don’t embark on projects in your constituency, you cannot in any way be appreciated by the people you are there to serve because the electorates in United States are different from the electorates in the United States and Africa.
“We live in an underdeveloped society with a lot of poverty, misery and wants. What people want is for you to address those basic fundamental issues that affect their lives.
“If we can be done with that, it would be okay. Now, you are talking of bogus salaries and bogus allowances – there are three steps you need to consider – the first has to do with the fact when you represent the people, expectations arise from your immediate and the larger constituencies.
“But I agree with you that the salaries and allowances of lawmakers should not be discreet, but what is discreet about it when you can write to Resource and Fiscal Mobilization Commission to get everything about what a senator earns?"