A Nigerian politician has revealed that senators receive 13.5m naira [£27,000, $37,500] every month to use on expenses of their own choice.
Shehu Sani, a senator for the governing All Progressives Congress [APC] party, said there is little accountability about how the money is spent.
He has called for the payments to be scrapped, saying they are a key reason why people choose to enter politics.
“I decided to bust it open. It was a moral issue,” Mr Sani told the BBC.
“The National Assembly is one of the most non-transparent organs of government. It pricked my conscience and I decided to burst the bubble and open the National Assembly to public scrutiny.”
“If the expenses payment system was ended then parliament would only be attractive to people who contribute ideas,” he said.
The money is paid on top of a senator’s salary which is more than $2,000 a month. They also receive a yearly constituency budget of $5.5m.
The Senate confirmed Mr Sani’s revelation but described it as “nothing new”.
“Almost all holders of elective and appointive offices have running costs allocated to their offices that cannot be said to be part of their salaries,” a spokesman said.
The National Assembly deliberately made it impossible for Nigerians to learn exactly how much politicians were paid.
It took the outspoken Shehu Sani to lift the lid from the inside. The salaries, at around $2,000 a month, are relatively modest. But via the back door Nigeria’s senators are receiving some astonishing expense payments for which there is little accountability.
After serving two terms a senator’s expense payments total an eye-watering $3.5 million.
Now the lid has been lifted from the inside, here’s a breakdown of how much Nigerian senators earn compared to other countries.
A Nigerian senator earns more in Salary than UK’s Prime minister and The president of US.
A United states senator who earns $174,000 annually (expenses included) must work for at least 3 years to earn the annual salary (expenses included) of a Nigerian senator.
Also, The president of the United States takes home an annual salary of $400,000, that’s less than the $492,000 or more Nigerian senators take home every year.
The prime minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May receives an annual salary of £150, 402 i.e $208,833.18.. She will need to work for 2 years and some months to equal what a Nigerian senator earn per annum.
Nigeria’s Minimum Wage
While our senators are busy ripping the country off. Nigeria’s minimum wage, meanwhile, is just a little over $50 a month.
In the United States, the minimum wage is $7.25 per hour i.e The minimum wage of an American worker is $58 a day and $1,218 a month.
To rub shoulders with their American counterpart, a Nigerian worker who earns a little above $50 a month must work for at least 2 years to earn what the average American worker earn in a month.