The Nigerian Senate, consisting of 109 members, is the highest law-making body in the country, responsible for making and revising laws and approving federal and judicial appointments. They can impeach the president or vice-president and control the public funds spent.
For years, many people have wondered what the take-home salaries of senators are, especially as they’ve always been perceived as the ones who benefit most from Nigeria’s national cake.
A part of this question finally got an answer in 2018, when Senator Shehu Sani, who represented Kaduna, disclosed in an interview that he and his colleagues received a salary of ₦700k and a running cost of ₦13.5 million monthly. This was minus the other allowances they got.
At the time, the minimum wage was ₦18k, meaning a senator would take about an hour to earn the then-minimum salary.
Despite the calls from Nigerians for other senators to corroborate the figures released by their colleagues, no comments were made until December 2021, when the current Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, revealed the salaries of members of the National Assembly.
What are the actual salaries of senators?
According to Lawan, a senator’s salary is ₦1.5 million monthly, while that of a member of the House of Representatives is ₦1.3 million. He also mentioned that, contrary to Shehu Sani’s claim, senators receive a quarterly office running allowance of ₦13 million.
What is a running office allowance?
This allowance covers the costs of local and international travel, newspapers, car maintenance, medical services and office stationeries.
It’s interesting that despite about 133 million Nigerians living in multidimensional poverty, we can still afford to sponsor our lawmakers’ flights.
Hopefully, the salary band of lawmakers gets reviewed soon because it’s difficult to justify why one person gets to take millions home every year in a country where the current minimum wage can hardly buy a bag of rice.