Senate has formally confirmed that each of its members receives N13.5 million monthly as running cost.
A senator, Mr Shehu Sani, reported 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, Sani says, totals about N750,000 monthly.
Senate spokesman, Mr Aliyu Abdullahi, said the revelation by Sani that senators receive N13.5 million monthly as “running cost” was nothing new.
Abdullahi in a statement on Sunday noted that details of what Sani said were already “contained in various line items and expenditure heads of the budget of National Assembly which has been made public.”
National Assembly in 2017, for the first time, released its budget after public pressure. That budget however had no subhead for office running cost putting doubt to 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.
Abdullahi also said that Sani’s colleagues were not unhappy with his revelation.
Some lawmakers had said privately that they were unhappy with Sani’s revelation and were already discreetly working out modalities to deal with the Kaduna lawmaker.
Since 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.