We have enough reasons to earn N13.5m as running cost – Ahmad Lawan defends senators

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Senate Majority leader and Senate Presidency hopeful, Ahmad Lawan, has said senators are right to earn N13.5 million as running cost, considering the nature of their works.

Lawan, who was speaking to journalists in Abuja on Saturday,  said the money is seen as “jumpo pay” because many people do not understand the lawmakers’ functions.

“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,” he 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.

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“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.”

Continuing, he said “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,” he added.

“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.”

Nigerian lawmakers are said to be among the highest paid among their colleagues in the world, with the 109 senators earning over N70 billion as running cost alone.

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