A cross-section of Nigerians on Friday expressed divergent views over
disagreement among senators to approve pay cut in their emolument as
recommended by the Senate’ Committee on Finance.
The Senate had on Wednesday, suspended consideration of the Sen. James
Manager’s committee’s report following disagreement by members on its
recommendation of a slash in their remuneration.
Some of those who spoke supported the move for downward review of the
salaries and allowances of the lawmakers while others queried the rationale
behind the proposal.
Mr Peter Abraham, a lecturer at the National Open University of Nigeria, said
that contrary to public perceptions, what the legislators earned was nothing
near what those in the Executive arm of government earned.
“I wonder why Nigerians are always quick to cast aspersion on the pay of the
National Assembly members and legislators in states’ Houses of Assembly.
“If you know what the president and his aides, ministers, governors and even
local government council chairmen earn, you will know that legislators are less
“Just look at the fraud called Security Vote; nobody knows what the executive
allocate to themselves as security votes and you wonder what they are even
“The whole security vote is shrouded in secrecy. Also, these executives
sometimes have bogus aides called special advisers, special assistants, senior
special advisers, senior special assistants, who do nothing.
“It is in this country that some state governors had 3,000 special advisers that
they don’t even know and who did nothing other than collect monthly salaries,”
Ms Taire Nwachukwu, a staff member of a commercial bank, said that the pay
cut should be across the board among the executive, legislative and the
judiciary arms of government.
“I work at the bank and what we see about the way these governors, ministers
and even council chairmen move money is baffling.
“I think what the lawmakers earn is not too much compared with their
obligations to their constituents.
“Lawmakers are closer and more approachable to the people than the
executives. So how do we expect them to service these dependents without
commensurate pay?” she said.
However, an unemployed man, Jude Ode, called for the abrogation of bi-cameral
legislature in Nigeria to be replaced with unicameral legislature.
He also called for the payment of legislators on part-time basis, asking ‘’how
can legislators, who are less than 500 people, take about 10 per cent of the
country’s annual budget meant for 180 million people?
“How can an arm of government decide its budget, sit over it, approve it and
expend it without anybody’s input to serve as a check?’’
“As an unemployed, when I consider all these amidst the abject poverty in this
country, I realise that it is not sustainable or the system will collapse,” Ode
On his part, Umar Mustapha, a taxi driver, called on the legislators to emulate
President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who cut their
salaries by half.
Mustapha said that there was so much poverty in the land and there was the
need for the nation’s resources to go round.
“It is an offence against the common man and a sin against God for one per
cent to be amassing more than half of what belongs to everybody.
“I am a graduate but there is no employment in the land.
‘’Companies have become comatose and pensioners cannot eat the fruit of their
labour. This should change,” he said.