Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has urged the Senate President Dr Bukola Sakari to “urgently explain to Nigerians if it is true that a Nigerian Senator gets N29 million in monthly pay, and over N3 billion a year.”
Professor Itse Sagay, Chairman Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, PACAC, had last week alleged that a Nigerian Senator gets N29 million in monthly pay. But the Senate has so far refused to clarify this or disclose the details of salaries and allowances of its members.
In a statement by SERAP Deputy Director,, Timothy Adewale the organization said 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.”
The organization said that, “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.”
The statement read in part: “Transparency is a fundamental attribute of democracy, a norm of human rights, a tool to promote political and economic prosperity and to curb corruption. For the Senate, practising transparency should start with the leadership being open to Nigerians on the salaries and allowances of members.
“SERAP strongly believes that it is by knowing exactly how much their lawmakers earn as salaries and allowances that members of the National Assembly can remain accountable to Nigerians and our citizens can be assured that neither fraud nor government waste is concealed.
“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. But when the Senate leadership routinely denies access to information on matters as basic as salaries and allowances of our lawmakers because some exceptions or other privileges override a constitutional and statutory disclosure requirement, open government would seem more like a distant, deferred ideal than an existing practice.
“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.”