By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Nigerian Senate on Sunday disclosed that the N13.5 million paid monthly to members of the upper parliament was included in the National Assembly budget.
In a recent interview, a Senator from Kaduna, Mr Shehu Sani, revealed that apart from the N750,000 salary paid to Senators, the sum of N13.5 million is paid to lawmakers every month as “running cost.”
This generated mixed reactions from Nigerians, who described the payment as outrageous and illegal.
But reacting to the issue yesterday, spokesman of the Senate, Mr Aliyu Abdullahi, said there was nothing new in his colleague’s statement.
According to Mr Abdullahi, the N13.5 million running cost was included in the budget of the parliament released for the first time to the public last year.
“Almost all holders of elective and appointive offices have running costs allocated to their offices and that cannot be said to be part of their salaries,” spokesman of the red chamber of the National Assembly stated.
He said details of the amount were already “contained in various line items and expenditure heads of the budget of the National Assembly which has been made public.”
Mr Abdullahi said if Nigerians had “critically [looked] at the budget of the National Assembly which has since been made public, they would have seen that various line items like traveling, medicals, consultancy and the rest were captured in the budget and they were the funds divided for each Senator’s use.”
It was gathered that the N13.5 million monthly running cost is not approved by the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), the body set up by government to pay public officials in Nigeria.
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