Nigerian Senate says N13.5m monthly as ‘running cost’ nothing new

Nigerian Senate Chamber

The Nigerian Senate has formally confirmed that its members receive N13.5 million monthly as running cost, stressing that Shehu Sani’s revelation is nothing new.

Mr Sani who represents Kaduna Central disclosed the figure and the N700,000 salary of senators in an interview with TheNEWSmagazine. The interview was published last week, triggering social commentaries about the Senators’ well-kept secret.

In a statement on Sunday, the Senate spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi said details of Mr Sani’s revelation is already in the public domain, adding that such information is already contained in the budget of the National Assembly.

“If people had looked critically at the budget of the National Assembly which has since been made public, they would have seen that various line items like traveling, medicals, consultancy and the rest were captured in the budget and they were the funds divided for each Senator’s use.”

“Almost all holders of elective and appointive offices have running costs allocated to their offices and that cannot be said to be part of their salaries,” he added.

However, some section of the media had reported that some lawmakers are angry with Mr Sani’s revelation, saying that the senator had damaged the reputation of the federal legislature while possibly pitting constituents against their representatives

The aggrieved senators and members of the House of Representatives said some of their colleagues were already discreetly working out modalities to deal with the Kaduna lawmaker.

Some of the lawmakers who spoke to newsmen said the revelation has the tendency of turning their constituents against them.

They said the revelation might instigate their constituents to make more financial demands from them

The lawmakers vowed to take necessary steps to make the next one year difficult for the Kaduna senator.

“He has brought his useless activism to the chamber creating the impression that we are all thieves without telling Nigerians details of what the money is used for,” one lawmaker said.

“There are always ways of dealing with characters like that. Just wait and see.”

Part of the punishment the angry lawmakers are considering is to pressure the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to exclude Mr Sani from subsequent ‘secret meetings’ of the senate, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.

They plan to prevail on Mr Saraki to stop inviting him for such meetings, especially those where finances might be discussed. The lawmakers are also weighing the option of recommending a probe of the whistle-blower to Mr Saraki.

For them, Mr Sani would have to explain why he turned himself to the senate spokesperson, speaking on behalf of others

If adopted, Mr Sani would be investigated by the senate’s ethics committee which shall recommend a punishment.

But some lawmakers are cautioning against any open rebuke of the senator, saying that might generate even more public anger against the Senate and its members.

Many Nigerians, including civil society organisations have commended Mr Sani’s action. However, if eventually probed and found guilty by the ethics committee, Mr Sani faces up to six to 12 months suspension.