Shehu Sani reveals Senators monthly salary, estimated running cost

Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in
the National Assembly has revealed amount he and his colleagues
receive monthly as running cost.

Sani confirmed in a statement that Nigerian Senators are earning N13.5
million monthly as running cost.

The lawmaker said the running cost was in addition to the over
N750,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances of each member of
the Senate.

He, however, kicked against payment of allowances, saying Senators
should be paid just salaries.

The statement reads, "I think what we can say is that the running cost
of a senator is N13.5 million every month.

"Though no specific instruction on what the fund should be used for,
lawmakers must provide receipts to back up their expenses from the
running costs.

"The running cost is in addition to funds earmarked for each senator
for constituency projects.

"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 N750,000.00. 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.

"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 leaves
senators and members of House of Reps with salaries.

"And also, the public should be informed that nobody should come to
any senator's house asking for any kobo. That also would be helpful.
There are issues that we need to understand. First, I don't believe
that members of the National or even state assemblies should be
involved in carrying out what is called constituency projects".

"When people are elected into the National Assembly, they should just
be involved in law making, raising motions, bills and also performing
oversight functions. But we live in a society where people cannot
differentiate between the legislators and the executive. "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 affects 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 arose 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? 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."

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