Senate, Sagay at war again over lawmakers ‘jumbo’ pay

Itse Sagay
Itse Sagay

The Senate and its serial critic, Itse Sagay, are sparring again.
This time, the Senate accuses the senior lawyer and presidential adviser on anti-corruption of hate speech and claims he is a “senile, jaded, rustic and outdated Professor of Law” who may be “under influence of substance.”
The latest wrangling followed a claim by Mr. Sagay that a Nigerian Senator gets N29 million in monthly pay in a speech he delivered at the Nigerian Society of International Law public lecture in Lagos on Wednesday.
“From the information I have gathered, a Nigerian Senator earns about N29 million a month and over N3 billion a year,” the professor said.
“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.

“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,” Mr. Sagay added. 

In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, he challenged the Senate to prove him wrong by publishing what the lawmakers collect as salaries and wages.

However, in a statement on Thursday, the Senate spokesperson, Abdullahi Sabi, replied with vicious remarks and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to rein in the at the septuagenarian lawyer, whom the Senate accused of “making hate speeches” against the National Assembly and using “uncouth and unprintable words” to describe the legislators and the institution they represent.”

“Ordinarily, we would ignore Sagay whose statements and attitude present him like a rascal and sadist instead of a former university teacher. However, his last speech in Lagos during which he was reeling out false and exaggerated figures about the salaries and allowances of legislators and also lied about the passage of anti-corruption bills showed that he just deliberately set out to undermine the legislative institution and lower its reputation in the estimation of right thinking members of the society and we therefore believe we should put him in his rightful place.

“As an academic whose creed should be to find facts and make comments based on truth, we believe that Sagay should stop spreading beer parlour rumours about the salaries and allowances of legislators when he could simply get the facts from the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Allocation Commission (RMFAC) which is the body constitutionally charged with the responsibility of fixing salaries and allowances of all public officials,” said Mr. Sabi. 

But he was yet done.

He said Mr. Sagay’s comparison of remunerations of a U.S. president and a Nigerian lawmaker was like comparing oranges and apples and that only “a senile, jaded, rustic and outdated Professor of Law like Sagay will make such a comparison which falls flat on its face, even to an ordinary lay man.”

The senator added: “This man talks like a man who is constantly under the influence of some substance and perhaps possessed as he employs the language of a tout with no civility. He is probably constantly excited and incensed by the fact of having his first opportunity to find himself in the corridors of power.” 

Speaking further with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Sagay said he was unperturbed by the statement from the Senate calling him “loose cannon” who should be “put in his right place” by Mr. Buhari. 
Asked how he arrived at his figures, he said, “It is not a figure that I arrived at; it’s a figure that was printed (for me) and published on the internet with very convincing details.”
Otherwise, he added, “If the Senate says what I say is false, they should publish what is right. right. If these figures are being doubted, write to the Senate President asking him to deny or confirm them.”
He was asked what particular issue he had against the Senate in the context of the accusation by the lawmakers’ spokesperson that every opportunity to address the public would be employed to disparage the Senate by Mr. Sagay.
“Firstly,” he said in response, “the minimum wage in Nigeria is N18,000 and the Senate is a group of people who actually vote their own minimum wage for themselves. The President does not determine his wage but the Senate takes a chunk of our budget and gives itself.”
“Secondly, their allowances: their basic salary in a year is N2,484,000. Then they collect hardship allowance which is 50 per cent of basic salary. Is there hardship in being a Senator?  They stay in air-conditioned offices with beautiful cushions and live a luxurious life and yet collect hardship allowance. Then, there’s constituency allowance, 200 per cent of basic salary; furniture allowance, 300 per cent of basic salary; newspaper allowance, 50 per cent of basic salary. So, our senators cannot afford to buy their own newspapers, Nigeria has to buy newspapers for them? Wardrobe allowance, 25 per cent of basic salary. So, they arrived in Abuja stack naked, meaning we have to clothe them.
“Recess allowance, 10 per cent of basic salary; Accommodation allowance, 200 per cent of basic salary; utilities, we don’t even know what that means, 30 per cent of basic salary.
“Domestic Staff, 75 per cent of basic salary; entertainment, 30 per cent of basic salary; personal assistant, 25 per cent of basic allowance; vehicle maintenance allowance, 75 per cent of basic allowance; leave allowance, 10 per cent of basic salary; severance gratuity, 300 per cent of basic salary; motor vehicle allowance, 400 per cent of basic salary.”
“90 per cent of Nigerian youth are jobless, involved in kidnapping, armed robbery and so on. Boko Haram came because the people are jobless and a few people are earning over N3 billion a year. One can’t be neutral, should Nigerians be deprived of all these by small elite who think of themselves alone and do not care about the country.”


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  • Agba

    The Senator are all criminals and looters,OBASANJO describe them as UNARMED ROBBERS.

    • emmanuel

      Obasanjo built the criminal structure for the National Assembly when he wanted third Term. These constituency projects were a bribe too and it became instituted after he left.
      It is an unpardonable sin to refer to Obasanjo’s position on this issue, because he invoked the pains on this country.

      • FreeNigeria

        Well said, OBJ had the chance twice to build strong democracy in Nigeria, instead the sick ugly man destroyed it for his own gains. he failed woefully. May his like never be born in again into the human race.

    • dave jacob

      Olusegun Obasanjo himself is the Chancellor of the unarmed robbers.

  • kaycee69

    I cry for Nigerians being a blind mam and yet declined an help to cross road.When would your mumu do ? These rouge politicians are taking millions for ride and living an opulence life at tge expense of poverished millions of Nigerians.

  • Dazmillion

    Senate spokesperson, Abdullahi Sabi must be the most uncivilized man in Nigeria

  • Okokondem

    So it’s hate speech when the national assembly is exposed for fleecing Nigeria? I really need to stop aggravating myself by reading these rubish. Even the way Premium Times is reporting this as if Itse’s accusations are unfounded. Well, clarify this by doing some investigation and providing your readers with the facts. How much do they really take home every month?

  • TC

    Tell the truth and shame the devil. If he is vile as you say he is then publish fact and figures to shame him if not, the way I see it he is winning and more credible. Bunch of cancerous tumors….

  • Okokondem

    I read somewhere that Nigeria Labour Congress is embarking on what they call, NAME & SHAME of Nigerian governors for refusing to pay workers salaries and pensions. Really, name & shame, what the hell does that mean? Why do they even believe the governors are ashamed of investing workers salaries in buying mansions for themselves overseas? After naming them, then what? Talk about being naive.

    If the NLC wants to make itself useful they should speak out against the money members of the national assembly take home every month and mobilize opposition against it.

    How average Nigerians remain apathetic and nonchalant on this subject is something I can never understand. In the world we live in today it’s not difficult to do a little research and compare what Nigerian legislators earn vs their counterparts around the world including the very wealthy nations. I don’t get the Nigerian people.

    • Akin

      Our mumu neva still do!

  • Du Covenant

    I am 200% behind Prof. Sagay, if we Nigerians are not ready to reign in on these greedy senators then we are doomed!. I squarely blame the system that allows such recklessness by dishing out so much of its commonwealth to a bunch of greedy and incompetent individuals. It is our teachers, doctors, engineers etc that SHOULD receive ‘hardship allowance’ not those bunch. The colonialists brought with them the notion of all these silly allowances including wardrobe, housemaid, car allowances etc to steal us dry. They have since gone and what an irony, our fellow citizens are using the same wickedness on their people. The richest countries on the planet don’t provide such silly allowances yet we are never ashamed to beg other countries to come and help us. Let there be a referendum about what politicians should be paid in Nigeria if we want to ever make any progress.

    • Okokondem

      I read somewhere a while ago where someone claimed that the Nigerian constitution has no statute on referendum and I wondered why. I’m not sure about the accuracy of the claim. That would run counter to common sense because in fledgling democracy like ours such a provision would help to put in check some of the excesses currently evident in our national assembly.

      Imagine labeling Mr Sagay as being on substance, and calling his accusations hate speech. This is the legislators’ only defense for fleecing the country, hate speech and calling the messenger a drunk or drug user?

      So, do you know if Nigerian constitution has a provision for referendum?

      • Du Covenant

        My broda, to be honest I don’t know but, that should be a no brainer isn’t it?. If truly power belongs to the people why should such a question not be posed to the people?. I thought referendum is a given in any democracy when the people are given the opportunity to answer certain questions?. If the Nigerian democracy has no provision for such an exercise then we are in deep trouble.
        Can you imagine school dropouts with no future in any decen society rubbishing a Professor of Law?. A country that can’t do anything meaningful to its citizens is just wasting so much on these greedy parasites. It is time for the senate to be scrapped!.

    • marc umeh

      What I am really interested in , is who wrote and voted for such allowances ?
      I now know why they love one nigeria !!!!

      • Osakue

        Na Buhari government dey pay the salaries of these senators so the present govt knows so Mr Sagay is 1000% correct.

      • Du Covenant

        This is precisely what I want to know too, who determines how much these scoundrels earn?…

    • Osakue

      Our teachers lectures and professors should earn this kind of money not senators. We have gotten it wrong it should be the other way round. Less pay for politicians while professionals should earn more.

      • Osakue

        Some senators hardly come to work most have not been able to even speak about the needs of their people. Haba only in Africa

  • princegab

    Sagay don smoke the idiots out. That’s the income they be hiding all the while, bunch of looters and economic saboteurs.
    In a country where 95% of the population live below 1$ a day, legislatures are pocketing nearly 2 million dollars annually each.
    Tufiaka Saraki !!!!

  • Liberty

    True, wonders shall never end! Otherwise, can any one at all, who is even just fairly well informed about the lootings, stealing, armed-chair robbery, etc going on in this country in the name of governance ever believe senator Sabi when he call Prof Sagay a ‘ rascal’? Does it not sound, once again, ‘fantastically’ funny to hear the Senate of the FRN likening Prof Sagay with a character under the influence of cocaine/heroin/’Indian hemp’/kparaga/codeine/etc?
    Na wa for we country o!
    If the senators wish, let them say even worse things in the hope of ridiculing the hard earned and unassailable good reputation of the old man. I can assure them that it WONT change any opinion of the Nigerian people, either about the intergriy of Prof Sagay or about alleged roles the senators are playing in fleecing this country of critical resources.
    One day, one day, our ‘mumu’ go do!

    • marc umeh

      Which day. When kingdom come ?

  • Ayo Yussuff

    A whole prof cant do simple arithmetic … 109 senators x 3billion = 327 billion…and the whole budget for senate is 146 billion. Their pay is outrageous but stop exagerating prof ….

    • blackdove

      He said a few people earning N3b. That means the menbers of the national assembly earn N3b. It is a simple statement, so please do not mislead.

      • Ayo Yussuff

        “From the information I have gathered, a Nigerian Senator earns about N29 million a month and over N3 billion a year,” the professor said. That is what he said u are the one trying mislead people, i think the Propaganda is directed at gullible people like u…..the Prof is a lawyer he should be accurate with his claims

        • Liberty

          My brother, N29m a month, N348 a year and a sum of N1,392 for the four year tenure is truly inconceivable, considering all socioeconomic circumstances of the average citizen.
          The Prof as indeed the rest of nigerians, of course minus the senators, may not be able to cite accurate figures because the senators have effectively ensured that no body gets the so-called accurate figures, if it is any different from what Prof cited.
          So, the Prof is pardonable because he erred in sincere service to the nation.

          • Ayo Yussuff

            Well, ..pushing false outrageous figures can never be a “sincere service“ to our nation… cpming from a lawyer and an anti corruption adviser

        • Watch man

          The constituency project budget does not come under senate budget; the
          FG puts it in their own budget; then the bandit senators go behind (as
          they have been doing long before now) and collaborate with the guys in
          the FG (executive arm) to release the money to the contractor they (the
          senators) have appointed. Usually those contractors are the fronts (or
          surrogates) of the bandit senators. The N3bn is a rough estimate when you consider the huge constituency budget that is voted for the lootocrats in senate under FG’s own budget. OBJ who happens to be in the know calls them ‘robbers’. Saraki did it in the over N3bn saga.
          You remember? In the end the constituency project money goes into the
          pocket of these bandit senators and then the project is never done. This
          is how the system works. And the masses continue to complain in
          docility. Do you understand now?

    • Yego V

      Why can’t you help source the correct figures. The prof tried.

      • Ayo Yussuff

        Why put up false info in.the 1st place? He is anti corruption adviser you dont fight corruption by telling lies…

    • Watch man

      The constituency project budget does not come under senate budget; the FG puts it in their own budget; then the bandit senators go behind (as they have been doing long before now) and collaborate with the guys in the FG (executive arm) to release the money to the contractor they (the senators) have appointed. Usually those contractors are the fronts (or surrogates) of the bandit senators. Saraki did it in the over N3bn saga. You remember? In the end the constituency project money goes into the pocket of these bandit senators and then the project is never done. This is how the system works. And the masses continue to complain in docility. Do you understand now?

      • Ayo Yussuff

        U guy just mix things up….the budget for the senate is 146 billion…there is no way the can.earn more than their budget….senate i not a revenue generating body..

        • Watch man

          Listen, there is an unconstitutional term called “constituency project”. It does not exist in the constitution. The bandit senate instituted it during OBJ’s regime. He accepted it for the sake of “peace”. Now, the way it works is this. A senator picks up a phantom project in his constituency worth, say N1.5bn. He goes to the Ministry of Works and they will insert it in their budget. When the budget is passed the ministry will open bid for this project. The said senator will through his surrogate bid for the contract, and of course he is sure of getting the contract. The moment it is awarded the money will be paid upfront. And of course he will grease the palms of the corrupt civil servants and other agents who facilitated the release of the fund. The giant share goes into the pocket of the lootocrat (senator). In the end, no project is done. And the beat goes on. Have you ever wondered how Anenih (as Works minister) got N350bn and yet Benin-Lagos road was not done, east-west road in Port-harcourt was not done, etc? This is how the corrupt Nigeria system works,.

          • Ayo Yussuff

            Ogbeni…so is Baachir earning 250mil/month as SGF ?, because he used his firm as front to steal 250 mill. Using your logic…

          • Watch man

            That is why it is called corruption; it has no receipt. Babachir earns more than that. The only way to find out is to use the FOIB and get the whole budget info, begin to investigate the so-called project and find out if it has ever been done. You will be amazed at what you will discover. What the Prof said is a tip of the iceberg of the mega-corruption going on in Nigeria. The N146bn is the one they want you to know constitutionally. Even if you divide the N146bn by 108 bandit senatrs you will get N2.704bn annually per bandit senator. What are they doing with such huge sum of money since they are not generating revenue?

          • Watch man

            Another example; how do you explain this narrative below that was published by PT under the caption “How ex-Air Force Chief Badeh diverted over N1 billion personnel’s salary surplus monthly– Witness”

            A witness has told a Federal High Court in Abuja that N1.7 billion meant for the payment of Nigerian Air Force personnel was diverted by a former Chief of Air Staff, Alex Badeh, on a monthly basis.

            The witness, Salisu Abdullahi, who was director of finance at the Nigerian Air Force between October 2010 and December 2013, said personnel salary received from the federal government was N4 billion, while what the actual salaries amounted to just above N2 billion. “Out of the balance of about N1.6 to N1.7 billion, the sum of N558 million was taken to Mr. Badeh’s personal residence at Niger Barracks after it is exchanged to dollars,” he said.

  • Abdussalami Yaro

    Oga Senate spokesperson, what ever people say about you, you asked for it, otherwise, can’t you people, come clean about your pay package? This issue have been cried out since the last 7th Assembly, where the then CBN governor, now Emir of Kano, spilled the beans. Why are you not comfortable in letting Nigerians and the world, know the true position? Mr. Spokesperson, your response to Prof. Sagay, has proved you to be more “uncouth, rascal, sadist’ and even vulgar. While I can’t say you are “senile”, because you have not reached the age yet, but I can rightly say, you are also “jaded and rustic”. CASE CLOSED.

  • Daniel

    We need to ask questions regarding what politicians earn.

    We cannot just keep quiet.

    • Osakue

      Yes O! Our mumu done do

  • Mike

    The Nigeria Senate should be scrapped. Federal house of representative to be restructured for effective representation.

    • Osakue

      I fully support

    • Watch man

      You got it. That is what I have been saying for long.

  • Mike

    How can few individuals earned so much in a month, and the majority of Nigerians are leaving below a dollar a day, this is shameful.

    • Osakue

      Na we be mumu people. Until we understand that we are the masters of government and what we want most stand. People power have removed powerful mean leaders around the world from power.

      • GusO

        Well, the first thing is to make sure that they don’t return to power in 2019. The second thing is to get an agreement from those replacing them that they will only get the senator’s salary — no any allowances or emoluments. The salaries alone is more than enough for one Nigerian given that the minimum wage is N18,000. Finally, let us seriously explore the provision in the Constitution that allow NASS members to be recalled. If constituents in various districts called for their senators to be recalled all at once, the Judiciary will be less inclined to play the tricks Justice John Tsoho played with the Dino recall movement by setting a future date for him to determine if it’s constitutional when it’s there in the Constitution. Let’s start recalling NASS members enmass for not representing their constituents and for paying themselves too much salaries, allowances and emoluments without doing anything for their constituents.

        • Watch man

          As long as the masses do not embark on massive civil disobedience as it is in Benin Republic now the bandits in sin-net will definitely return in 2019 without restriction; mark my words.

  • Opekete

    Why did the senate reject the devolution bill? Because ir is a threat to their gluttonous appetite for personal enrichment at the expense of the masses. Number two is that the passage of the bill would have in all probabilities rendered them useless as an institution. We don’t need these fools. The national and state assemblies are the problem it is not the executives. We can do away with these lawbreakers and still make the executives effectively accountable. Nigeria need to evolve a unique political system adaptable to our unique social and cultural system. This borrowed system will eventually dealt a death blow to Nigeria as a nation.

  • marc umeh

    If you are wrong , then they should take you to court for defamation.
    But if you are right , you will have a special place in heaven. In a country where only a FEW will stick their neck out against obvious injustice , you will be rewarded before all the ministers , pastors , profs etc

  • Osakue

    I tire for this salary matter. Who pays the senate? Is it not the same FGN? Accountant generals office? The minister of finance or CBN governor most know the exact figure a senator takes home.

    Prof Sagey means well for Nigeria people and I will always stand by him.

    Our senators are theives


    Thank you able Prof. Yes the senathieves actually “ARRIVED ABUJA STARK NAKED. WE HAD TO CLOTHE THEM”. It means we put mad men in agbada to make laws for Nigeria so why do we expect then to behave like sane people? Were they not supposed to be sent to where they belong – Psychiatric Hospital in the first instance for deliverance? See you cannot give what you don’t have. The response of the senathieves spokesman shows that like mad men, they have nothing left in their psycho domain. What a shame

    • Watch man

      Did Nigerians even send them to Abuja? The other day this woman sin-nator from Ekiti roared that she paid her way to the sin-net and therefore accountable to no one. That is how it is with the rest of the bandits in that sin-net.

  • Yego V

    Saraki and Dino should do their favorite thing: Go to court or publish the “correct ” figures. This matter is straightforward.

  • MilitaryPolice01

    Goodness me – 1.2 mill for newspaper for the month? These Senators are so wicked that even the devil will be scared of them.

  • GbemigaO

    What most people refused to understand is that when you have a critical mass , then you can effect changes ! Is the APC not in control of the executive and the legislature ? ASre tyhey not the ruling party ? Please effect the changes if your party members also wants changes and you are clean as you always want us to know. However, Prof Sagay ? You need to clean your mouth and speak when it is necessary to speak. Just advise PMB to make the move to change all these issues. I have not seen the Prof asking the executive to release the report on the probe of the SFG and the NIA Head. You did not push for EFCC or ICPC to investigate instead of an administrative enquiry ? Enough of your noise please . Enough politicking . We are not blind !

    • Oladosu

      Sir/Ma, I cry for this nation at your comment. Truly no prosecution of SFG and NIA head is seen but a punitive measure in the form of a sack has been meted out to those individuals. Several senators have been embroiled in corruption litigation and none of them has been suspended by the senate. A man, Sagay, is radically fighting for the sane spending of our common wealth and the best you could do was to call him a noise maker. This man has been criticizing the senate since 2010 saying a senator’s income surpassed that of Obama if you don’t know.

      • GbemigaO

        Chief. Read my comments again. It is in the power of APC as a government to move to change what Sagay is complaining about. Secondly, in your own definition of corruption fighting, just removing or sacking you to go and enjoy your loot is punitive . I cry for this country. Thirdly, apart from appearing and talking in the media, please tell me Sagay achievements on fighting corruption . Making noise or effort and no result is nothing. Jail all corrupt people . When there are consequences – jail and confiscation of the loot , not removal to go and enjoy the loot is done , people will start fearing stealing our money brazenly! That is what I was trying to pass across

  • Watch man

    “This man talks like a man who is constantly under the influence of some
    substance and perhaps possessed as he employs the language of a tout
    with no civility. He is probably constantly excited and incensed by the
    fact of having his first opportunity to find himself in the corridors of

    The above is the real description of the Sin-net. I have said it severally that Nigeria does not need Sin-net (senate). With N3bn annually per senator, we are talking about N324bn for 108 individuals. N324bn will provide 1,500,000 youths an annual salary of N216,000 (i.e. N18,000 per month) but instead the megabucks goes to only 108 well-to-do individuals, some of who have their own companies and stolen assets. ASUU is asking for about N200bn annually for 5yrs for the strengthening of the ivory towers yet the govt cannot do that. There is something fundamentally wrong with Nigeria and I think it has gone beyond physical.
    Unfortunately the docile Nigerians (especially the so-called leaders of tomorrow, the youths) seem not to be bothered. By now, Nigeria should be in the mode of what is going on in Benin republic, but alas, it may never happen. I have paid a lot of price for this country hoping that credible people will join in restoring order therein but there seems to be no solution in sight. Well, let the criminals in the Sin-net continue their brigandage and looting since it seems that this is what Nigerians want.

    • wode

      I can’t agree less with you regarding the seeming silent endorsement of what the political office holders are doing to the fortune of this country, most especially, those at the National Assembly. We are always quick to protest against whatever Executive arm of government does but not to those by the other arms of government. I still don’t know what stops Nigerians, most especially the youth, from protesting and demanding total exposure of the earnings of every members of the National Assembly. This concerns us more than people demanding to know, for example, the nature of the “then” sickness of the President. We need to pressure the National Assembly to make absolute public declaration of their earnings/budget not just a 6-bullet point listing that they are using to deceive Nigerians. All the pressure groups and, in deed, all Nigerians should demand knowing the details of National assembly’s budget. They cant be making law to protect themselves at the disadvantages of the masses. Millions of Nigerians can’t be suffering and they still seat there nourishing and satiating their individual aggrandizement.

  • Ali Baba

    If what Prof sagey stated about the Nigerian Senator’s Salaries are true , he respectfully
    deserves our support and encouragement . I here to employ the press to continue letting the Nigerian and the World know about it until something is done , to rectify the situation .
    NIGERIAN Legislators are the collection of corrupted Useless and unproductive clowns