Shehu Sani, the Nigerian senator who revealed that he and his colleagues receive N13.5 million as running cost monthly, has called for the illegal payment to be scraped.
Mr. Sani in an interview with BBC said the payment is a ‘moral issue.’
“I decided to burst it open. It was a moral issue,” he said.
He said that the National Assembly is being run with little accountability about how the money is spent.
He wants the illegal payment to be scrapped so that the legislative arm of government will be attractive only to people who can contribute ideas.
“The National Assembly is one of the most non-transparent organs of government. It pricked my conscience and I decided to burst the bubble and open the National Assembly to public scrutiny.
“If the expenses payment system was ended then parliament would only be attractive to people who contribute ideas,” he told BBC.
Mr. Sani had in an interview with TheNews revealed that he and his colleagues receive N13.5 million monthly as “running cost”, aside a N750, 000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances which they also receive.
Mr. Sani’s revelation is the first by a lawmaker from the Senate since the clamour by Nigerians for a full disclosure of lawmakers’ earnings.
The revelation has sparked widespread anger among Nigerians who had always criticised the lawmakers for arbitrarily allocating jumbo pay to themselves.
The Senate on Sunday confirmed the payment but said the revelation is ‘nothing new’ as the information was already in the public domain.
In a related development, a former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has reacted to the ongoing debate on the jumbo pay received by federal lawmakers.
In a series of tweets on her Twitter handle @obyezeks on Monday, Mrs. Ezekwesili said Mr. Sani gave answer to “what Nigerians have been asking for”.
She explained how she was crucified by the National Assembly when she asked for transparency in their financial operations.
She tweeted, “Senator .@ShehuSani has in a rare moment of penance for the financial rascality of our .@nassnigeria done partial DISCLOSURE on their GOOD LIFE at the expense of the POOR. He DISCLOSED some of what WE – Citizens – have long ASKED @bukolasaraki & @YakubDogara to do. MORE REMAINS.
“Five (5) years ago, the 7th .@nassnigeria was so VEXED at me when I challenged them that their SALARIES & ALLOWANCES was about the HIGHEST IN THE WORLD.
“They then .@NGRSenate and @HouseNGR rose in unison to HAUL INSULTS & THREATS.
“I responded then.
“@bukolasaraki @YakubDogara & all lawmakers in @nassnigeria @NGRSenate @HouseNGR should REDEEM this promise that their 7th NASS colleagues NEVER KEPT:
“They accepted my challenge to HOST a Public Hearing on their PAY.