Uproar in Senate over pay cut

Saraki• Saraki suspends debate indefinitely

WHAT was billed as a debate on a report for the review of Senate finances yesterday ended in a stalemate. Sharp disagreement and strong opposition reigned as many senators reacted to what they saw as planned reduction in their salaries and allowances.

And it was all confirmed when Senate President Bukola Saraki announced that “the Senate in a closed session deliberated on the report for the review of its finances and approved to stand down the report for additional input.”‎

The senators had, in a closed session and for more than two hours, deliberated on the Senator James Manager-led Ad hoc committee on the Review of Senate Finances but could not take a decision after a very heated debate.

It was not certain yesterday whether the Senate would re-open debate on the matter in the nearest future particularly as the upper legislative chamber today proceeds on its yearly end of session which could last till the end of September.

Spokesman of the Senate, Senator Dino Melaye, at a press conference shortly after the session, explained that there was an understanding among senators that the decision to slash the finances of the Senate could not be taken by the upper chamber alone without serious consultation with the House of Representatives and the National Assembly management.

Melaye said: “After some deliberations, we reached the conclusion that since the budget of the Senate is not independent of the National Assembly ‎budget, which also includes the budget of the House of Representatives, National Assembly Management, National Assembly Service Commission, we agreed on the need to consult with all these organs of the National Assembly before we conclude.”

Saraki had, upon his election as Senate President, announced that the Eighth Senate would review its finances to reflect the prevailing economic situation of the country.

Among the recommendations of the James Manager-led ad hoc committee, is one which seeks to make the finances of the upper chamber very open and transparent in addition to slashing legislators’ earnings.

It was gathered that many senators expressed the view that ‎the question of making Senate finances open did not arise since it was already accommodated in law.

Others were said to have condemned the planned cut in salaries because they believed that such actions would never change the perception of Nigerians about the National Assembly.

A senator disclosed that Saraki’s swift action saved the report from being thrown out as only a few members supported the leadership in canvassing the new policy which a majority of senators see as quite unnecessary.

A senator, who supported the idea of pay cut, ‎said that it would portray the National Assembly in good light particularly as the President himself had already announced that he would take only half of his salary.

“The entire world has bought into the change agenda and one of the key areas of the change agenda is this anti-corruption campaign. You cannot fight corruption except you open up the financial process. We cannot afford to renege on the promise we made from the beginning. How can we conduct oversight investigation on others if we do not start from our own home? This report is our opportunity to convince the world that the positive change we canvass starts from us,” ‎he said.

Saraki had barely two weeks after his election as President of the Senate inaugurated an ad hoc committee to carry out thorough fiscal examination on the Senate finances with the aim of coming up with the best cost-effective regime in the Senate.

The 10-member committee, according to Saraki, would look at the best strategy to align with the current administration’s efforts to ensure reduction in cost of governance, which he said, had been a sensitive matter on the front burner of national issues.

He said the committee would ascertain details of salaries and allowances each senator deserves with a view to unraveling the ambiguity in the monthly salaries of legislators and their allowances.

He stated that there should be clarity, accountability and transparency in all legislative matters and legislators’ welfare.

He added: “The eighth Senate under our watch recognises the concerns raised by Nigerians about the cost of running office, most especially with the economic challenges facing our nation.

“The Senate will be more transparent regarding all public funds spent for the purpose of paying salaries and allowances of legislators and ensure that distinction is sufficiently made between what a legislator actually earns and what was being spent to run and implement legislative business and committee activities.’’



32 Comments
  • goodmarket

    They are not there to make our country better but to enrich their pocket . Sorry my country

  • bigbang

    10 percent pay cut is not enough, it should be 40 percent.

    Senators yearly salary should be $75,000, House of Rep $60,000,

    • Laughter

      You are too generous. I think it should around $36,000 pa, reps $ 28,000 p.a. Google to see what the Indian prime minister earns p.a and you will be amazed.

      • Martino

        Please add the allowances, abeg. What you quoted was the salaries only.

  • bobo

    Thieves!!!

  • amador kester

    If they continue that cash bonanza and extravaganza party in the senate, the economy will soon tell them they are wrong

  • Ojiyovwi

    How pathetic? Uproar indeed! Switch off The Gravy Tap to these thuggish thieves!

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  • Joseph

    where is Dino Melaye and Murray Ben Bruce who were busy playing to the gallery then about the need to reduce national assembly expenses? Easier said that done. Isn’t it?

    • marginalize

      They are already overwhelmed by the greedy majority. The popular saying that when a dog moves with pigs it will eat feces have been proved right in the National Assembly. The earlier Ben Bruce and Dino Melaye realize that there is nothing sweeter than free government money the better.

  • emmanuel kalu

    of course they would hate the report that want to cut their salaries. These criminals would continue to loot the country, until the people stand in open revolt against them. they can’t even make their finances open to the people that pay them. we the voters are elected official bosses and we need to act like it. let make note of each elected official that fails to support this and ensure that he or she is voted out the next election.

    • Kehinde Lawal

      We cannot wait for the next election; THE REVOLT MUST START NOW, but who will bell the cat?

  • Imea

    Why are they paid in dollars anyway.

    • davs

      …..they are not paid in dollars

  • Ridwan Omooba

    Distingushed senate president of the 8th assembly is committed to leading a very strong and transparency #OpenNass and this according to his word which says and i quote:“I want to assure you, despite all what you read in the papers, be rest assured that we are here for serious business. We are all committed to make a difference and my doors are open. Very soon, from what I am being told from the Senate Committee on Rules and Business, we are trying to move fast about the e-parliament so that everybody here can know what we are doing and they can also contribute to some of the discussions.

    Also in his word “We want to make this place as open as possible. There is nothing here we are hiding. What is our great motivation? Nigerians spoke at the last elections and I don’t think they spoke for things to be the same and we must not let it be the same. We must ensure that it is positively different,” he said.

    on the issue of pay cut and allowances as debated in the house, more clarification can be read via this link :

    http://app.pulse.ng/local/saraki-3-most-important-things-senate-president-has-said-about-lawmakers-allowances-id3876749.html

    • marginalize

      If you believe Saraki then you will believe anything.

  • Babatunde

    Until the names of those who are for or against a legislation are published, there would not be transparency and or accountability. Any report from any arms of government should include name, party, and state of origin. For example, if Saraki is for or against a bill slashing Senate salaries, then it should be reported as such: Sen. Bukola Saraki, (APC) Kwara Central is for or against. Let us know where these “senators” stand on issues so that we can make an informed decisions during the next election cycle. These garbage about “some senators” are for reduction while “some senators” are against reduction is not only ridiculous, it is corruption. How can we hire somebody to do a job and don’t know how much we are paying the person? Is that not CORRUPTION?

    • Martino

      Names ke? Who will quote their names? The same folks including PMB who refused to declare assets as they campaigned for our votes? How do you expect transperency? Who will start it? That was why I always said that the WAC (War Against Corruption) is meant for the masses and not the leaders.

      • akpo

        Please, it is time to demonstrate to the legislators that there are enlightened Nigerian masses around watching their management of our common wealth.That we do not need to wait four years hence before
        we can legitimately get them off their high horse.

        All we need do is for the NGOs to mobilize the masses to the National assembly to bear pressure on them
        to do our bidding else we get the names of the legislators opposed to reduction in their salaries and allowances
        and proceed to INEC to begin a process of recalling them back to their ancestral homes respectively.

        • Martino

          Mobilize who? Very few Nigerians have appetite for anti-government demonstrations. From past experiences, they are futile.

    • davs

      Thank you my dear — as you said, that is how is been done in the United State of America – your stand on a Bill will be published as follow: your name, your party and the zone you represent and your stand on that Bill, so that people that send you to represent them will know how you are performing and this will determine your next election — for hiding their identity is a capital CORRUPTION — our journalist should STOP encouraging corruption by changing the way they report.

  • Obasinjom Warrior

    Nigerian lawmakers are the highest paid in the world and it is shameful that the National Assembly alone consumes as much as 25% of the budget. A salary cut will not be enough for these “legislooters.” Their job as lawmakers should be made part-time, so only those committed to service will run for office.

    • Martino

      They consume about 3.75% of the budget; just the 469 of them. that figure is huge if you consider that the remaining 150M of us have to share 96.25% of N4T/annum

  • Ikorodua

    How much is big enough to KEEP THIS FRAGILE ENTITY (Nigeria) UNITED.? No amount is big enough. This is strictly my opinion

    • marginalize

      Wrong opinion. The unity of Nigeria does not start from the national assembly.

  • marginalize

    Did I hear you say pay cut? It is never done in the National Assembly. Why will people like Akpabio and co support the motion for a pay cut? That motion will never see the light of day. By the way, do you really expect Saraki to allow pay cut in the National assembly? This is like the more you look the less you see. These senators did not go to the National Assembly to “carry load”. They went there to “hammer” full stop

    • Martino

      Well spoken. I hear this administration will usher in CHANGE; maybe PMB but definitely not the NASS. The NASS under PDP fought OBJ to a standstill on this issue. Under Yar’Adua, the whole NASS arm-twisted him to increase to about N100B/annum. Under GEJ, they fought him to get autonomy of finances and since then, the NASS decides what to spend and no one can reverse that; not even PMB. We are smoked!

      • marginalize

        My brother trouble has come to town. The National Assembly will spend what they are given. Will they go and rob the CBN for their criminal allowances if there is no authority from the executive?

        • Martino

          They don’t need authority from the executive. The executive needs authority from the NASS. Read the sick constitution that gives them autonomy.

  • davs

    …I know people like — FEMI GBAJABIAMILA …”Rep. APC party” — will never support any – SLASH – in their pay — he is ready to drop his last blood to defend it.

  • Gloriua Marioghae

    I really don’t know how the country can get better with greedy, and selfish legislators in the National Assembly. This is very dis-heartening in the light of the changes the citizens are anxiously desirous of. And my I ask, when they are
    going to discuss the getting rid of the petroleum subsidy? If they think we have forgotten about it, they have another thing coming!

  • Agbaakin Majeobajo

    Fellow Nigerians………..It seems that we’re at it again! PMB should call these people to order and let them know that no Nigeria (including our Senators and Reps) is above the law. The country is broke and it is unimaginable that in a country where an average Nigerian lives on less than $1 a day and we have Senators and Reps earning salary and emoluments greater than that of President Obama of U.S.A., come on, that is insane and should be promptly checked. If the President and his Vice could cut their salaries and emoluments by half, then nothing should stop the houses at the Federal, State and Local Government levels from cutting their pay. It is high time that we elected them to those offices and if they’re not ready to feel for the electorates, there should be massive recall and we elect people that are ready to work on an approved emoluments. Nigeria for now do not need full time legislators, we should elect part-time legislators because and I strongly believe that they hardly work more than 3 months consecutively out of the whole year. They spend our money travelling abroad on holidays with their families and concubines! It is high time we call a spade a spade and stop all these nonsense!
    Our infrastructures are rotten, our school system up to tertiary is dead and not reckoned with in the world, no good hospitals, no jobs, no electricity etc. etc. and our legislators are earning the total budget of a country!!!!

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