Ben Murray-Bruce, the Senator representing Bayelsa East Senatorial District, has said that it is silly for certain Nigerians to come to him with questions on the salaries of senators.
The Senator said on Saturday, October 7, on Twitter: “Except you are my constituent, it is silly for anyone to have a problem with the Senate’s salaries and come to me.
“Go to your own senator!” he exploded on his handle.
It is not known what may have prompted the outburst from the 61-year-old Ben Murray-Bruce, popular for issuing short statements on the nation’s socio-economic and political challenges.
However, there has been public pressure on lawmakers to reveal how much they actually receive as salaries and allowances.
For instance, the Nigerian Senate and Itse Sagay, an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, have been engaged in some squabbles lately over a claim by the latter that the monthly salary of a senator was about N29 million and over N3 billion a year.
Sagay had made the allegation in a speech he delivered at the Nigerian Society of International Law public lecture in Lagos on Wednesday, September 6.
“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.
He challenged the Senate the next day in an interview with Premium Times, to prove him wrong by publishing what the lawmakers collect as salaries and wages.
The Senate, however, said the figures presented by Mr. Sagay were false and exaggerated.
Similarly, the Chairman, Movement for Nigeria’s Total Transformation, Chief Areoye Oyebola, has also lambasted Nigerian Federal Lawmakers for their non-responsiveness to the widespread call for the downward review of their “monumental salaries and allowances.”
Oyebola said the recent criticism of the federal legislators by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), was just one of numerous criticisms that had trailed the lawmakers over the years but to which they had paid no attention.
He decried what he described as the insensitivity of the lawmakers, who he said, were living large in the midst of widespread poverty in the country.
According to Oyebola, the annual salary of a Nigerian Senator is far higher than the $400,000 yearly income of the United States’ President. Even a member of the House of Representatives also earns more than the American President, he said.