N13.5M Monthly Illegal Allowance: Lawmakers angry, plot against Whistle-blower Shehu Sani
The Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani, has angered a number of his colleagues for lifting the veil on the N13.5million illegal allowances members of the upper legislative chambers receive each month in addition to their legitimate salaries and allowances.
Some lawmakers who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES but asked not to be named said the revelation by Mr. Sani has damaged the reputation of the federal legislature while possibly pitting constituents against their representatives.
The aggrieved senators and members of the House of Representatives said some of their colleagues were already discreetly working out modalities to deal with the Kaduna lawmaker.
Mr. Sani had in an interview with TheNews revealed that he and his colleagues receive N13.5 million monthly as “running cost”, aside a N700,000monthly consolidated salary and allowances which they also receive.
Mr. Sani’s revelation is the first by a lawmaker from the Senate since the clamour by Nigerians for a full disclosure of lawmakers’ earnings.
The revelation has sparked widespread anger among Nigerians who had always criticised the lawmakers for arbitrarily allocating jumbo pay to themselves at a time the country remained in dire need of funds for developmental projects.
Ironically, Mr. Sani’s colleagues are criticising him for coming clean on the secret allowances lawmakers receive while majority of Nigerians wallow in poverty and disease.
Some of the lawmakers who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES said the revelation has the tendency of turning their constituents against them.
They said the revelation might instigate their constituents to make more financial demands from them
The lawmakers vowed to take necessary steps to make the next one year difficult for the Kaduna senator.
“He has brought his useless activism to the chamber creating the impression that we are all thieves without telling Nigerians details of what the money is used for ,” one lawmaker said. “There are are always ways of dealing with characters like that. Just wait and see.”
Part of the punishment the angry lawmakers are considering is to pressure the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, to exclude Mr. Sani from subsequent ‘secret meetings’ of the senate, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
They plan to prevail on Mr. Saraki to stop inviting him for such meetings, especially those where finances might be discussed.
The lawmakers are also weighing the option of recommending a probe of the whistle-blower to Mr. Saraki.
For them, Mr. Sani would have to explain why he turned himself to the senate spokesperson, speaking on behalf of others
If adopted, Mr. Sani would be investigated by the senate’s ethics committee which shall recommend a punishment.
But some lawmakers are cautioning against any open rebuke of the senator, saying that might generate even more public anger against the Senate and its members.
Many Nigerians, including civil society organisations have commended Mr. Sani’s action.
However, if eventually probed and found guilty by the ethics committee, Mr. Sani faces up to six to 12 months suspension.
In March 2017, when the former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume asked for investigation of allegations of importing a bullet proof range rover with fake documents involving Senate President Bukola Saraki and that of perjury involving Dino Melaye, the committee recommended 12 months suspension.
The suspension was later reduced to six months by the lawmakers.
Similarly, in the House of Representatives, a lawmaker from Kano, Abdulmumin Jibrin, was suspended for 180 days for revealing what is today known as budget padding.
His suspension was recommended by the House Ethics Committee which also prescribed that Mr. Jibrin will also not be able to hold any position of responsibility for the span of the current National Assembly.
Contacted on Saturday, Mr. Sani said he preferred not to comment on his colleagues’ moves. He promised to make comments if the need arises in future.