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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has exposed the alleged shady deals of the Senate President Bukola Saraki-led National Assembly, by refusing to reveal the monthly and yearly pay of Members of the National Assembly to Nigerians, despite several calls.
In a statement on Friday, by Timothy Adewale, SERAP Deputy Director, the organisation said: “While we appreciate the expressed commitment by Saraki to transparency and accountability of the National Assembly, and the rare opportunity to dialogue with him, we remain deeply concerned that the leadership of the Senate has unfortunately not satisfactorily addressed the damaging allegations by Professor Itse Sagay, Chairman Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), that a Nigerian Senator gets N29 million in monthly pay, and over N3 billion a year.”
According to the organisation: “There is an apparent discrepancy in some areas between what Saraki said at the meeting, and what the Senate is doing in practice to improve transparency of its operations and accountability of members. For example, the Senate President’s response to Sagay’s allegations, was simply to refer SERAP to the National Assembly budget for 2017, which is available on its website. However, a careful study of the document shows that it contains only some general information and not specific details that respond directly to allegations raised by Sagay.”
The statement read in part: “The meeting with Saraki raises more questions than it answers. The Senate budget on its website is incomplete. The absence of specific details on salaries and allowances of each Senator, not only makes analysis difficult, it also points to underlying weaknesses in monitoring and transparency mechanisms.”
“Without including some level of details, Nigerians may see the published National Assembly budget as nothing more than window-dressing. SERAP hopes that the leadership of the Senate doesn’t want this to be the case – and we certainly see no reason why it should be the case. As we have noted, improved transparency on the exact salaries and allowances of Senators and indeed Members of the House of Representatives, is in the interests of all.
“In SERAP’s view, rather than referring us to the seemingly incomplete National Assembly budget, the Senate President should have provided a line-by-line response to Sagay’s allegations. It is important that the leadership of the Senate provides additional information that is lacking from the published budget, if it is ever going to satisfactorily clear the air on the issues.”
“Continuing failure and/or refusal to provide a line-by-line response to Sagay’s allegations, is counter-productive. Although the issues of transparency in the salaries and allowances of Members of the National Assembly may seem like sensitive issues, they are exactly the kind of issues the Senate and House Representatives need to urgently address and clarify, if Nigerians are ever to trust their Lawmakers.”


“As the 2017 National Assembly budget does not appear to record all allowances received by Senators, it’s in the best interest of the Senate to now publish a line-by-line response to Sagay’s allegations, rather than simply providing a blanket denial. If the Senate is disputing Sagay’s figures on the salaries and allowances of its Members, it should at least provide what it considers to be the current amounts, including on ‘hardship allowance’. One way the Senate can do this, is by moving swiftly to publish details of Senators’ payslips and other relevant documents on the salaries and allowances of Members for Nigerians to compare and judge.”‎
“In addition, we agree with the Senate President that there are corruption issues within the Executive that need to be fully and effectively addressed. But the reality of corruption in the Executive branch of government, doesn’t mean that allegations of corruption in the National Assembly, especially as they relate to budget padding and constituency projects, should be minimised or ignored. The leadership of the Senate should have provided examples of how the Senate is preventing corruption in the budget process and initiatives like constituency projects, rather than shifting the blame as to why corruption is so pervasive in the implementation of such projects.”
“Further, the Senate President’s call on Nigerians to report to the Senate allegations of corruption that directly affect them or which they witness is warmly welcomed. We hope the Senate will keep to its promise on this, and that reports of corruption cases that Nigerians bring to it will be objective, fairly, and effectively addressed, and that any such process is completely transparent. However, citizens may not have the trust and confidence to embrace the Senate Anti-Corruption Reporting Mechanism, until the leadership satisfactorily addresses the lingering doubts on the exact salaries and allowances of its Members.”
“The National Assembly is in a uniquely strong position to act as a catalyst in the fight against corruption. But the rhetoric of the leadership of the Senate on transparency and accountability, needs to be matched by reality.”
Post-Nigeria recalls, that Sagay had alleged that a Nigerian Senator gets N29 million in monthly pay. The details of the salaries and allowances as provided by Mr. Sagay are as follows: basic salary N2,484,245.50; hardship allowance, 1,242,122.70; constituency allowance N4,968, 509.00; furniture allowance N7,452,736.50; newspaper allowance N1, 242,122.70.
Others are: Wardrobe allowance N621,061.37; recess allowance N248,424.55; accommodation 4,968,509.00; utilities N828,081.83; domestic staff N1,863,184.12; entertainment N828,081.83; personal assistant N621,061.37; vehicle maintenance allowance N1,863,184.12; leave allowance N248,424.55; severance gratuity N7, 425,736.50; and motor vehicle allowance N9, 936,982.00.
Sagay’s allegations prompted SERAP to write Saraki, stating that: “The ‘sky will not fall’ if details of a Nigerian Senator’s salaries and allowances are published on a dedicated website. SERAP believes that releasing the information on salaries and allowances of Members of the Senate would encourage a nuanced, evidence-based public debate on what would or should be a fair salary for a Member of the Senate.”

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