Oluwole Oke, who represents Oriade Federal Constituency of Osun State, stated this in an interview with Punch Newspaper.
In comparison, a civil servant on the N30,000 minimum wage will have to work for 24 years to earn what an House of Represenatatives member earns as running cost monthly.
It is even worse in the case of senators who earn N13.5 million monthly as running cost. In that case, a civil servant on the minimum wage would have to work for 37 years to earn what a senator earns monthly.
The N30,000 minimum wage only came into place in April. Before then, the minimum wage was N18,000.
“How much is N8.5 million to me as a person?” he said.
“They are not bills that you pick on the shelve.
“I remember when I promoted the National Pension Commission Act, it took me out to Chile and other countries like Argentina, the United Kingdom and India.”
“If I have to engage lawyers and professionals to prepare bills for me, to work on motions for me; and get researchers also,” he said.
However, hiring legislative aides such as research assistants is taken care of separately. Each member of the House of Representatives is entitled to at least five aides paid by the government monthly. Presiding officers are entitled to more aides.
Mr Oke then made claims about the pay of U.S. lawmakers.
Like Oke, like Shehu Sani
The senator who represented Kaduna Central revealed that he and his colleagues receive N13.5 million monthly as “running cost.”
“Besides whatever you get here in the form of salary or allowances, you have constituents with their numerous problems waiting (for you). Do you know how many scholarships and school fees that I am responsible for? Do you know how many constituents of mine who are ill; people who want to put to bed, people who have to undergo operations (surgeries) or need support? Do you know how many community projects that I have to support or celebrations and events that I have to support” he said.
Activists Condemn Pay
An activist and convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, while reacting to the comments by Mr. Oke said if judges do not earn up to that amount, there is no justification for any lawmaker to complain about it.
“If judges do not earn up to N2 million, why should legislators earn as much as N8.5 million?”
“This is fundamentally why there is corruption almost at every level and stage of our National lives.”
“A situation where judges compromise is because of inequality, inequality is the mother of all forms of social vices in the country. University lecturers and professors don’t earn up to that so why should legislators earn this much and still complain that the runing cost is not enough?”
“That is the more reason why I say most people who go there do not know why they are there,” Mr Suraj, an anti-corruption crusader, said.
“He should be given a calculator for him to calculate his running cost and the minimum wage of an average citizen Nigeria, then he won’t call it peanuts.