The Senate has formally confirmed that its members receive N13.5 million monthly as running cost.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how a Kaduna senator, Shehu Sani, confirmed the amount, which was hitherto kept from the public. The money is illegal as it is not approved by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC). It is also separate from the salaries and allowances approved by RMAFC which, Mr. Sani says, totals about N750,000 monthly.
Senate spokesman, Aliyu Abdullahi, said the revelation by Mr. Sani that senators receive N13.5 million monthly as “running cost” is nothing new.
Mr. Abdullahi in a statement on Sunday noted that details of what Mr. Sani said were already “contained in various line items and expenditure heads of the budget of the National Assembly which has been made public.”
The National Assembly in 2017, for the first time, released his budget after public pressure. That budget however had no subhead for office running cost putting doubt to Mr. Abdullahi’s claim.
The Senate spokesperson, however, said that “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.
Mr. Abdullahi also said that Mr. Sani’s colleagues were not unhappy with his revelation.
Since Mr. Sani’s revelation, Nigerians and civil society groups have criticised the Senate with activist Femi Falana asking President Muhammadu Buhari not to approve such money anymore.
The presidency is yet to react to the revelation.