Mr Shehu Sani, the Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District in the National Assembly has revealed Nigerian Senators best kept secret: their pay packet.
In a major interview with The News magazine, Sani said he and his colleagues received N13.5 million monthly as running cost.
The revelation by the Senator was the first time a member of the National Assembly will confirm speculations that Nigerian senators are earning N41.5 million quarterly as a running cost.
The Kaduna Senator said the earned running cost was in addition to the over N700,000 monthly consolidated salary and allowances of each member of the Senate.
The Senator said, “I think what we can say is that the running cost of a senator is N13.5 million every month,” the Senator said in response to the question on alleged bogus salaries and allowances of Nigerian lawmakers.
According to him, while there is no specific instruction on what the fund should be used for, lawmakers must provide receipts to back up their expenses from the running costs. He added that the running cost is in addition to funds earmarked for each senator for constituency projects.
“But what I am saying is that that money (N13.5 million per month) must be receipted for what you do with it. But what you are given to go and spend without any accountability is N750,000.00.
“The constituency project itself is given on a zonal basis and almost every Senator will go with a constituency fund of about N200 million, but it is not the cash that is given to you.
“You will be told that you have N200 million with an agency of government for which you will now submit projects equivalent to that amount. And it is that agency of government that will go and do those projects for you.
“Now, the corruption comes when the projects are not done and the money is taken. But right now, it is difficult to do that because NGOs and transparency groups have come into it. They track every allocation made to you and where they are being used.
“So, it’s becoming difficult for what used to happen in the past to happen now.
“But I can tell you that I would love a situation where we do away with running costs, constituency projects and leaves senators and members of House of Reps with salaries.
‘And also, the public should be informed that nobody should come to any senator’s house asking for any kobo. That also would be helpful.
“There are issues that we need to understand. First, I don’t believe that members of the National or even state assemblies should be involved in carrying out what is called constituency projects.
“When people are elected into the National Assembly, they should just be involved in law making, raising motions, bills and also performing oversight functions. But we live in a society where people cannot differentiate between the legislators and the executive.
“When the people come to you, they want you to build roads, dig boreholes, build hospitals, schools, give money, pay school fees for them. Now, if we have a society in which people will stop asking legislators to do those things, then there is no need (for the allowances) But funny enough, if you are very active in the National Assembly in making laws and you don’t embark on projects in your constituency, you cannot in any way be appreciated by the people you are there to serve because the electorates in United States are different from the electorates in the United States and Africa.
“We live in an underdeveloped society with a lot of poverty, misery and wants. What people want is for you to address those basic fundamental issues that affects their lives.
“If we can be done with that, it would be okay. Now, you are talking of bogus salaries and bogus allowances – there are three steps you need to consider – the first has to do with the fact when you represent the people, expectations arose from your immediate and the larger constituencies.
“But I agree with you that the salaries and allowances of lawmakers should not be discreet, but what is discreet about it when you can write to Resource and Fiscal Mobilization Commission to get everything about what a senator earns?
“The only money you are not expected to account for is your salary and the salary of a senator is about N750, 000.00 per month. The other one, the running cost of office must be accounted for. You must provide a receipt for every expense you make.”
*Reported by Saharareporters
Shehu Sani, the Senator representing Kaduna Central, says the fight against insurgent group Boko Haram is not over.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian military recently claimed that the sect has been completely defeated.
But Sani insisted that until all hostages, including Chibok girls, are freed and attacks stopped, the federal government should not boast of complete victory over Boko Haram.
He further hailed the efforts of the military in battles against the insurgents saying progress has been made.
Shehu Sani on his Twitter page wrote “The military made sacrifices and achieved a lot in the battle against the insurgents and that is commendable.
“But until the last hostage is freed and back home and until the suicide attacks stops, we can only say tremendous progress has been made but not complete victory.”
The Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial District, Shehu Sani, on Tuesday stormed the headquarters of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board in Bwari, Federal Capital Territory, with snake charmers.
The senator also seized the opportunity to present JAMB with snake repellent chemicals.
Sani said the visit was to enable stakeholders to get to the bottom of the issues surrounding the reported case of missing N36m from the JAMB office in Makurdi, Benue State.
One Philomena Chieshe, a sales clerk in the JAMB office, Makurdi, told JAMB registrar and his team that she could not account for the N36m she made in previous years before the abolition of scratch cards.
“In the course of interrogation, Philomena denied the allegations that she stole the money, but confessed that her housemaid connived with another JAMB staff to spiritually (through a snake) steal the money from the vault in the account office,” the report said.
Sani said his visit to JAMB was in response to the story that a snake swallowed N36m.
He lamented that it was of concern that such a huge sum of money was reported to have been swallowed by a snake.
“I believe that the contribution I can make is to bring snake charmers from my constituency to the JAMB office and to help them fish out the snake and weed out snakes from their premises.”
Sani further said that if a snake could actually swallow N36m, one day, Nigerians might wake up to say that a snake had swallowed the country’s foreign reserve.
“Even if it is a spiritual matter, we believe that these people I brought are some of the best snake charmers in the country and they will help in arresting both physical and spiritual snakes if there has been any in the JAMB office.”
He explained that it was very clear the incident did not happen during the tenure of the JAMB Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede.
“We are very proud of him. We believe he is someone who should continue to run this agency.
“It is good for Nigerians to know this is what happened before he came into office. I believe the best thing we can do is to continue to support him.
“It is time Nigerians knew that there may be other dirty things happening in other places, but this place has exposed it for us. We know the truth and I’m very happy about that.”
Sani presented snake repellents and chemicals to the board.
Responding, the Spokesperson for JAMB, Mr. Fabian Benjamin, explained that on assumption of duty, the incumbent registrar, Oloyede, discovered that there were loopholes in the sale of scratch cards.
“We discovered a lot of loopholes. The registrar thereafter introduced PIN vending.
“After introducing the PIN vending, it was natural for him to call for an audit of the former use of scratch cards.
“After taking stock, it was discovered that in some offices, they could not account for what they sold.
“Ms Philomena Chieshe was entrusted with a number of scratch cards which she sold, but N36m could not be accounted for.
“When asked, she actually said she sold them at the said amount, and kept the money in the public vault. According to her, a snake swallowed the money.”
Benjamin further explained that in the spirit of transparency, inclusiveness, and openness, the agency felt that Nigerians should know what was happening.
He said Chieshe had been queried and has also appeared before a disciplinary committee.
“A report has been put together and sent to the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu. As soon as that report is approved, she will be disciplined and handed over to the appropriate security agency for proper profiling.”
Senator Shehu Sani, representative of Kaduna Central, has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to forget his ambition of running for a second term next year and address the security situation of the nation and other national challenges.
The senator said: “It is wrong to be talking of the re-election of Buhari as President when hundreds of lives are being lost and people are being massacred in different parts of the country.
“In time of bloodshed like this, the issue should be how to come together and address the problem. But those marketing the President at a time of this bloodshed are like people dancing on the graves of Nigerians.
“Campaigning for Buhari for next year’s election when people are being killed, when orphans and widows are being produced as a result of the tragedy of these circumstances and people are being kidnapped, I think amounts to political sacrilege.
“It is an insult on the conscience of Nigerians and it is an insult on the moral integrity of Nigerians for anybody to ignore what is happening and simply walk to the President and tell him that what is important at this material time is his re-election campaign for next year’s election…
“If we allow this trend to continue, it would threaten the peace and unity of this country.
“I advise people advising the President and strategising for him to contest the elections to spare him some time, advise him well and provide a solid strategy to end the carnage and atrocities that is going on in the country today.
“Human life is more important than politics, because you cannot preside over dead people. The images we see in both social and traditional media is heart-rending and despicable.
“I can tell you that over a year ago, the President was in Zamfara State in military fatigue to address the problem of banditry and mass killing. The President should be seen in any part of the country where such violence occurs.
“The President must visit Southern Kaduna, Birnin Gwari, Taraba, Benue, Rivers and Adamawa states. It gives people some hope that their Commander-in-Chief is determined and committed to defend and protect them.”
Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly, UNGA.
The outspoken lawmaker noted that Buhari’s speech affirmed Nigeria’s position as an important player in global affairs.
“The President speech at #UNGArestored Nigeria’s position as an important role player in global affairs, with clear position on world issues,” he wrote on his Facebook wall.
Buhari had on Tuesday addressed world leaders at the 72nd session of UNGA.
The President, who harped on the need to fight corruption both locally and internationally, also highlighted efforts being made in providing relief, humanitarian assistance to millions afflicted by terrorism, drought, floods in Nigeria.
Buhari, among other things said the international community must be “mindful and focus on the widening inequalities within societies, and the gap between the rich and the poor nations”.
The North West chapter of the All Progressive Party has quashed the suspension of Kaduna Senator, Shehu Sani, by the Kaduna State chapter of the party.
The party said “every disciplinary measure should strictly follow the Constitution of the party”.
Mr. Sani, who has been embroiled in a bitter row with Kaduna governor, Nasir El-Rufai, was suspended twice by a faction of party loyal to Mr. El-Rufai.
But speaking at the party’s zonal meeting in Dutse, Jigawa State, on Saturday, the north-west national vice chairman, Inuwa Abdulkadir, said arbitrary actions by party leaders in states against members were invitation to anarchy.
He said intra-party wrangling has threatened the foundation of the party, as such, misunderstandings should be discussed openly to foster harmony and growth in the party.
“We should do all we could not to depart from the winning formula of our party in 2015,” he said.
Mr. Abdulkadir urged all the warring factions in Kaduna State to respect the reconciliation committee of the party headed by the chairman of north-west governors’ forum, Aminu Masari, for the good of the party.
The governors of Kano, Umar Ganduje; Katsina, Bello Masari; Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal; Kebbi, Abubakar Bagudu; and Jigawa, Abubakar Badaru, attended the meeting.
The senator representing Kaduna central, Shehu Sani, has once again affirmed that no one can suspend him from the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The Kaduna state chapter of the APC had axed the controversial senator following his fallout with the state governor, Nasir el-Rufai.
Speaking with state house correspondents in Abuja on Friday, Sani described his suspension as a ruse, stating that he remains a member of the party.
“I cannot be suspended. I am unsuspendable (sic), if there is any word like that. I remain a member of my party, If you simply feel uncomfortable with my words all you can do is to simply put some cotton on your ears so that it can block it,” he said.
“And if you are not comfortable with seeing me physically, you simply need to use sunglasses but in every sense you can’t hide behind attempts to silence Shehu Sani. In fact, I have been so suspended up to about 20 times that my car doesn’t need any suspenders right now, each time they call it’s about to suspend.”
Speaking of his strained relationship with el-Rufai, he said: “Well it’s a normal thing. You can be Siamese twins and then you may engage in combat, you can also be twins and then engage yourselves in disagreement and you can also be from the same house or family or same room but still disagree with each other.”
“I think it’s a normal thing in a democracy to disagree.”
“Well, it is foolish for anybody to start talking about 2019 when we are just less than two years into this tenure. What is most important to each and every one of us is to deliver on the mandate for which we have been elected whether you are a governor, senator, a member of house of representative, in whatever capacity,” he said.
“But in the course of it, it is also normal that missiles will strike from here and there, it is normal in a democracy.”
Kaduna State Governor, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, has been accused of “thinking of removing President Muhammadu Buhari.”
In an explosive interview in the March edition of The Interview magazine, Sani said, “It would be counter-productive for the Governor to start thinking of evicting Buhari in 2019 to be the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“El-Rufai should do his job and stop putting his eyes on the Presidency.”
The senator represents Kaduna Central and is in the same ruling All Progressives Congress with the Governor. They have been at odds for undisclosed political reasons, leading to Sani’s suspension by the state branch of the party.
Sani accused El-Rufai of ruling like “an emperor,” promising to “give him war or peace,” whichever he chooses.
Also in this edition of The Interview, former military governor of Kaduna State, Colonel Dangiwa Umar, gave his first major interview in 23 years in which he laid in on Governor Adams Oshiomohle; and Peoples Democratic Party chieftains, Chief Edwin Clark and Chief Tony Anenih, calling them “traitors.”
Responding to a question on the fortunes of former President Goodluck Jonathan after he was defeated in March, Umar said, “I compare them (Oshiomohle and co) to insects that cling to flowers. They are attracted by the nectar rather than by the beauty of the flower.
“Governor Adams Oshiomohle, who generously praised Jonathan as a true democrat, suddenly turned into his most virulent critic.”
Umar revealed that during Jonathan’s testy days as acting President, he advised Jonathan to sack his service chiefs, but the former president was too confused and agitated to act.
“He complained,” Umar said, “that the NSA had informed him that the service chiefs were disgruntled with the way the sick and bedridden Umaru Yar’Adua was being treated and that he, the acting President, was most disloyal.”
In the edition, which the Managing Director/ Editor-In-Chief of The Interview, Azu Ishiekwene, described as “deep and loaded,” Umar also revisited his role in the June 12 crisis, the agitation for Biafra and his relationship with Jonathan.
The Interview magazine
March 14, 2016