Representatives from Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) will today visit the National Assembly to meet with the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in order to discuss issues relating to details of annual salaries and allowances of lawmakers.
SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, said: "We are pleased to accept the invitation from the Senate president to visit the National Assembly to discuss matters of public interest following SERAP's letter to Saraki to disclose details of salaries and allowances of members of the Senate.
"We will use the opportunity of the face-to-face meeting to ask pertinent questions and seek detailed information and clarifications on the exact salaries and allowances that each senator receives monthly or yearly."
Adewale said the Office of the Senate president contacted SERAP yesterday to set up a meeting for today. The meeting, scheduled for 1p.m. at the National Assembly complex follows SERAP's request to Saraki to "urgently explain to Nigerians if it is true that a Nigerian senator gets N29 million monthly and over N3 billion yearly
Special Adviser to Saraki on New Media, Bamikole Omishore, had on Sunday in Abuja said he would contact SERAP and other civil society organisations for a meeting to give more details on the yearly earnings of senators.
Omishore said: "The attention of the office of the President of the Senate has been drawn to the demand for more details regarding the earnings of senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Having released the breakdown of the National Assembly budget, the most comprehensive in the history of Nigerian Senate, it seems the release of pay slips is yet to clarify earnings of Nigerian senators.
"The Senate president has agreed to a roundtable with SERAP and other CSOs to enlighten them and answer genuine questions regarding the matter. I will make contact with SERAP and other CSOs for a date convenient for all parties in the next few days."
Recently, Chairman Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, had alleged that a Nigerian senator gets N29 million in monthly pay. But the Senate has so far refused to clarify this or disclose the details of salaries and allowances of its members
Subsequently, SERAP wrote Saraki stating that "the 'sky will not fall' if details of a Nigerian senator's salaries and allowances are published on a dedicated website. SERAP believes that releasing the information on salaries and allowances of members of the Senate would encourage a nuanced, evidence-based public debate on what would or should be a fair salary for a member of the Senate."
The organisation said: "It is by making transparency a guiding principle of the National Assembly that the Senate can regain the support of their constituents and public trust as well as contribute to ending the country's damaging reputation for corruption.
"By permitting access to information on your members' salaries and allowances long shielded unnecessarily from public view, the Senate would be moving towards securing the confidence of Nigerians in the legislature. The Senate would also be establishing a more solid political base from which to perform its legislative duties and to fulfill its role in the balance of power within the Nigerian constitutional order."