Prof. Itse Sagay

Constitutional lawyer, Prof. Itse Sagay on Wednesday said the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan lied when he said his monthly salary as a senator was N750,000.

He said the Senate President should stop misleading the public as the monthly salary of a senator is N15 million.

Lawan had said on Tuesday in Abuja that there was no ‘jumbo’ salary for senators as being claimed and that he and others earned N750,000 monthly.

Sagay, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, said Nigerians were more interested in how much senators take home monthly in salary and allowances.

According to him, Lawan was only speaking half truth because everyone knew that the bulk of the money earned by senators was embedded in their allowances.

“He (Lawan) knows that nobody will take him seriously. I respect and like him but what he has done is to give half-truth. He is telling us the actual salary without mentioning anything about the allowances.

“That’s where the jumbo pay comes in when you talk of building, furniture, domestic this or that, 15 items and those items alone bring everything up to N13.5m a month. So, simply mentioning the base salary, which brings it over N14m, is not sufficient.

“So, technically, he’s right, that’s their salary. But what is his income, take-home pay, at the end of the month? It’s about N15m and we are not including so many other things we need not talk about now,” Sagay stated.

Sagay told The Punch that the presiding officers of the National Assembly earned more than ordinary members, while asking Lawan to come clean.

He added that “Not only that; that leadership of the two houses earn a lot more — tremendous amounts. I don’t really want to go into issues not to create controversy but what he’s saying now is pure technical truth about salary but not about allowances, which is where the jumbo really is.

“What I have not been able to do is give details of what the leadership earn. There is the leadership aspect that I hadn’t revealed — the excess that the Senate leader (President) and deputy Senate leader, leader of the house; the same thing applying to the House of Representatives.”