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[The Activism Blog] Activists flay Senate over N13.5m allowance but we’re barely scratching the surface

budge, senate

Over the years, it has been a subject of speculation as to what Nigeria’s federal lawmakers earn as salaries and allowances. The national assembly members have consistently maintained they are being paid as regulated by the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission. However when their salaries tracked on this blog in the year 2017, we confirmed the RMAFC has failed woefully in regulating legislature salaries; national assembly members still pay themselves bogus salaries and other benefits.

This was however laid to rest recently when Senator Shehu Sanni disclosed that a Senator earns 13.5m naira as monthly running cost among other earnings. The revelation by the Senator has been received with condemnation by several activists in the country. According to one of its greatest critics and Chairman of the Presidential advisory committee on anti-corruption Professor Itse Sagay he 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.”

The campaign for democracy C.D, in its reaction, said the N13.5m running cost could employ over 100 graduates in the country. The C.D. President, Usman Abdul said the huge earnings by the senators contributed to the bastardisation of the economy. He is quoted as saying “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.”

However, as much as these criticisms are important and timely, the fact still remains the depletion of our earnings and budgetary provisions by political appointee is a problem that exists in all levels of government. We’ve been focused on the illegal activities of the national assembly but it’s high time we extend the searchlight to the executive also, what the executive earns is still a mystery like that of the national assembly, some appointees at the executive level are so wealthy that when EFCC lists confiscated items tracked back to them, it is always humongous despite serving for four years and maximum eight years.

The fact remains our political office holders are bleeding the economy of Nigeria and that should stop. Concentrating all energy on the national assembly will only prevent us from seeing where the problem lies.

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