Lawan should spare us half-truth, senators earn N15m monthly, says Sagay

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The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), has asked Senate President Ahmed Lawan to stop misleading Nigerians, adding that senators earn N15m monthly and not N750,000 as claimed by the Senate President.

Lawan had said on Tuesday that there was no such thing as ‘jumbo pay’, adding that he earns N750,000 as salary.

Speaking with Punch correspondent on Wednesday, however, Sagay said Nigerians were more interested in how much senators take home monthly in salary and allowances.

The senior advocate said Lawan was only speaking half truth because everyone knows that the bulk of the money earned by senators is embedded in their allowances.

Sagay said, “He (Lawan) knows that nobody will take him seriously. I respect and like him but what he has done is to give half-truth. He is telling us the actual salary without mentioning anything about the allowances.

“That’s where the jumbo pay comes in when you talk of building, furniture, domestic this or that, 15 items and those items alone bring everything up to N13.5m a month. So, simply mentioning the base salary, which brings it over N14m, is not sufficient.

“So, technically, he’s right, that’s their salary. But what is his income, take-home pay, at the end of the month? It’s about N15m and we are not including so many other things we need not talk about now.

The senior advocate said the presiding officers of the National Assembly earn more than ordinary members.

He, therefore, asked Lawan to come clean. “Not only that; that leadership of the two houses earn a lot more — tremendous amounts. I don’t really want to go into issues not to create controversy but what he’s saying now is pure technical truth about salary but not about allowances, which is where the jumbo really is,” Sagay said.

The PACAC chairman, who was the first to expose the jumbo pay of federal lawmakers, said he was still trying to ascertain the allowances of principal officers.

He said, “What I have not been able to do is give details of what the leadership earn. There is the leadership aspect that I hadn’t revealed — the excess that the Senate leader (President) and deputy Senate leader, leader of the house; the same thing applying to the House (of Representatives).

“What they get — the current ones — that I have not been able to release. I had the details of the previous house. They were mindboggling; we are talking of one person getting up to N280m a year in allowances for his position. But I don’t know what they had during the Saraki era or what the present group are going to award themselves.”

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