Saraki bows to pressure, agrees to clarify lawmakers’ ‘N3bn annual pay’

Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, has made a move to meet with civil society organisations to clear the air over the alleged humongous allowances of legislators.

Saraki’s meeting with CSOs, scheduled to hold by 1pm on Thursday, at the National Assembly complex, is in response to a request by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP).

SERAP’s request followed the allegation by Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), that senators receive N24 million each every month, which amounts to over N3 billion annually.

The allegation prompted the ICIR to do a fact-check, which showed that although the legal earnings of Nigerian lawmakers are not as high as claimed, there was no clear-cut way of ascertaining what they actually earn, due to lack of transparency.

In response, the Senate, through its spokesman, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said Sagay was speaking like he was under the influence of some substance.

However, SERAP wrote Saraki, insisting that the “sky will not fall” if details of legislators’ salaries and allowances are made public.

“It is by making transparency a guiding principle of the National Assembly that the Senate can regain the support of their constituents and public trust, and contribute to ending the country’s damaging reputation for corruption,” SERAP said.






     

     

    “If the Senate under your leadership is committed to serving the public interest, it should reaffirm its commitment to openness by urgently publishing details of salaries and allowances of members.

    “The continuing refusal by the Senate to reveal concrete information about the salaries and allowances of their leadership and members could ultimately endanger the healthy development of a rule-of-law state.”

    On Sunday, Bamikole Omisore, Saraki’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, confirmed that the Senate President was willing to shed more light on the controversial issue of lawmakers’ earnings.

    “The Senate President has agreed to a round-table with SERAP and other CSOs to enlighten them and answer genuine questions regarding the matter. I will make contact with SERAP and other CSOs for a date convenient for all parties in the next few days,” Omishore had stated.

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