The Nigerian Senate explained what members of the upper legislative chamber uses the monthly 13.5million paid to each of its members for.
Senator Shehu Sani, representing Kaduna Central, had revealed that each lawmaker at the red chamber gets 13.5million monthly aside what they are being paid.
Described as jumbo pay by critics, Ahmed Lawan who is the Senate leader said the money is meant to enable lawmakers discharge their duties properly as senators.
Mr Lawan made the clarification while addressing newsmen on Saturday in Abuja.
“Let me say right from the onset that there is nothing like jumbo pay for lawmakers. As a senator, my take-home is N750,000. The gross is about N1 million but a senator pays a tax of N250,000 every month,” the Yobe lawmaker said.
“But as a senator who has to work for the people, we have the funds that people call our own or allowances. These funds are for us to operate. Sometimes your oversight or other functions take you outside the country.
“I believe that what is paid to members of the national assembly and the senate, the N13 million per month is not given to the senator to put into his pocket and use to buy cars. It’s for that senator to perform his functions.
“Today as a senator, I have five aides. In fact in most cases if a senator is going to move a motion, he writes it himself. In the US, a senator may have maybe a long list of professors on every sector who may be a consultant or a staff.
“And that is why the quality of legislation will naturally be higher where such climate exists. We want to have high quality legislation, so we have to pay for that,” he said.
The lawmaker who is the preferred candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) for presidency of the incoming Senate said rather than question the lawmakers’ earnings, Nigerians should be more concerned on their performance.
“I think what should matter to us is to continuously keep our eyes on the performances of members of the national assembly. Where they are not performing, criticise us and ask for value for money.
“When Nigerians pay that kind of money for a legislator, they should get the best quality of legislation. But I don’t think many people understand the functions of the members of the national assembly or the so called debate. We need to educate Nigerians ourselves on what we do. The money going to the national assembly is always a contentious issue,” Lawan said.
The top lawmaker also said despite his relationship with president Muhammadu Buhari, he will not be a rubber stamp if the Nigerian leader.