Member representing Kaltungo/Shongom Federal Constituency of Gombe state, Hon Simon Karu, has said the official salary of a member of the House of Representatives is N800,000, while the office running cost for each member is N8.5 million monthly.
Many critics of the bicameral legislature contend that the cost of getting into the hallowed chambers and the subsequent maintenance are too high.
They argue that Nigeria should get rid of the upper chamber to cut cost, while others have called for a slash of salaries and allowances of federal lawmakers.
However, Hon Karu made the revelation on Thursday, at the Umaru Musa Yar’adua Centre, in Abuja, during a “Fix Nigeria@60” programme titled, “Sustainable and efficient democracy: Issues on accountability and transparency in governance.”
He said, “The official salary of a member, House of Representatives which I also receive monthly is N800,000.
“I told you I was going to say it, why don’t you wait for me to say it? The office running cost of a member of the House of Representatives is N8.5 million. Those of you who know, know that I said exactly what it is.”
“The problem is what the constituents demand and when you don’t meet, they begin to call you names.
“Just before I walked to the stage, I received three e-mails from my constituents demanding for money and demanding for jobs. When you don’t, it becomes an issue,” he added.
But the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols and Agreement, Hon Ossai Nicholas Ossai, told the crowd to disregard the figures mentioned by his colleague, Hon Karu.
“I have never received such salary since I came to the National Assembly, and I have been in the National Assembly before my colleague,” he said.
Senator Dino Melaye however, said, “With the insincerity of the National Assembly with the deception of the executive, we need a national budget regulatory office.”
“Nigeria is the only democracy in the civilised world today, where the National Assembly does not have a national budget office. And this has been introduced 10 years ago. Over N10 billion had been budgeted for this office, till this minute, it has not been established,” he added.