UPROAR OVER PARLIAMENTARY SALARIES IN NIGERIA, AGAIN

UPROAR OVER PARLIAMENTARY SALARIES IN NIGERIA, AGAIN

In the run up to national elections (scheduled for 2019), there is once again uproar over the size of the compensation paid to Nigerian parliamentarians. This time, it was Senator Shehu Sani, from Kaduna and a member of President Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, who blew the whistle. Shehu Sani said that the salary of Senators is 750,000 naira per month plus allowances of 13.5 million naira per month, for a total package of 14.25 million naira per month. At the current black market rate of 360 naira to the U.S. dollar, that total is slightly less than $40,000 per month, and slightly less than $480,000 per year. (Estimates are that the majority of Nigeria’s population lives on less than $2.00 per day.)

The Nigerian media has long reported that Nigerian parliamentarians are the most highly paid in the world. Comparison with compensation paid to U.S. senators and representatives might be instructive. U.S. senators or representatives earns a salary of $174,000 per year. They also receive health insurance, life insurance, and are enrolled in social security. For these senators must pay premiums out of their salary.

U.S. senators and representatives, like their Nigerian counterparts, also receive official allowances. This amount varies according to particular circumstances, such as committee chairmanships, and senators receive more than representatives. In 2010, one estimate was that an average senator received $3.3 million in allowances to cover staff salaries, office space, postage, and myriad other expenses. Notably, no lodging per diem is paid.

Hence, a member of the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives receives far more in salary and expenses than a member of the Nigerian National Assembly. Furthermore, a Nigerian politician lacks the resources available to a U.S. member of Congress, such as the fully-developed Congressional Research Service or the Library of Congress. That being said, the resources at the disposal of a U.S. member of Congress are closely governed by law and regulation. By contrast, a member of the National Assembly in Nigeria, one of the poorest countries in the world, can largely spend his allowances anyway he sees fit. Not only is parliamentary compensation in Nigeria massive compared to the overall wealth of the country, but it is largely unregulated and subject to abuse.

Levels of parliamentary compensation in Nigeria are so high that there is an understanding that service in the National Assembly is an aspect of patronage/clientage relationships and should be rotated between ethnic group, local region, and religion. This is one reason why, following each national election, more than sixty percent of parliamentarians are new.

John Campbell / CFR

About author

Nigerians in South Africa
Nigerians in South Africa 6167 posts

We are about democracy, human rights, public opinion, political behavior, civil rights and policy aimed at improving the human condition, with a focus on African countries.

You might also like

It is our own failure that led to load shedding

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande says the tripartite alliance must take responsibility for recent load shedding.”The 1998 energy policy told us we needed to do certain things even in the early 2000s. We were told Eskom power stations must be maintained, must be renewed, we did not do that because we wanted to privatise. It’s…

NPA withdraws charges against so-called SARS ‘rogue unit’ trio

Charges against three former senior South African Revenue Service (SARS) officials accused of involvement in the so-called rogue unit have been withdrawn. In a statement issued on Friday by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), it said National Director of Public Prosecutions (NDPP) advocate Shamila Batohi had decided to withdraw charges against Ivan Pillay, Andries Janse van Rensburg and…

Will Sinn Féin redefine Irish politics?

Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald argues that voters are now recognise her party as a real alternative A cosy old establishment. A growing gap between elites and governed. Inequality worsening. Populism on the r…

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply