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Jumbo Pay: Senate Spokesperson Refuses To Disclose Senators’ Salary

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Senate Spokesperson Yemi Adaramodu, representing Ekiti South Senatorial District refused to answer pointed questions on the earnings of Nigerian senators, on Sunday, during an interview on Channels Television.

The anchor, Seun Okinbaloye, began by asking for a straightforward figure of the average monthly earnings of a senator, “How much does an average Senator go home with, in a month. It’s a direct question so give a direct answer.”

Rather than answer directly, the senator began to equivocate.

He said, “Yes, it’s a direct question and I will give you a direct answer. The direct answer I will give you is that if I tell you it’s ten naira, you will not believe it.

“You are a journalist, there is Freedom of Information Act, go and use it and find out and show the evidence openly to Nigerians so that no Senator or House of Reps person will come here and deny it.”

Persistently seeking clarity, the anchor pressed further, emphasizing the public’s right to know how public funds are allocated and spent.

Adaramodu, in response, invoked the principle of burden of proof, implying that the responsibility lies with those making claims to provide evidence.

He likened the situation to bringing an accused party to court and demanding they provide evidence against themselves.

He said, “He who asserts must prove. My brother, my brother when something becomes controversial, the third party which you are, you have to establish the truth.

“Please use that Act, get to it and just present it to Nigerians, and not spurious allegations.

“You cannot bring an offender to the Court and start asking that offender to provide you with the evidence.

“So you have brought the offender which is the National Assembly and you now want him to provide you with evidence. How is that possible? The evidence he is going to provide is the evidence that will support his own story.”

The issue of federal lawmakers’ remuneration has long been a contentious topic, stirring public outcry, debates within legislative chambers, and scrutiny from various sectors of society.

The term “jumbo pay” has become synonymous with the generous compensation packages received by members of the National Assembly, sparking discussions on transparency, accountability, and the equitable use of public funds.

At the heart of the controversy lies the lack of clarity and detailed public disclosure regarding how much federal lawmakers earn.

The compensation structure typically includes basic salaries, allowances, and benefits that are intended to cover various aspects of their duties and responsibilities as elected representatives.

However, the specific breakdown and total amounts remain opaque to many Nigerians, fueling suspicions of excess and misuse of public resources.

In defense of their compensation, lawmakers often cite the demanding nature of their roles, which include legislative duties, constituency representation, oversight functions, and participation in committee work.

They argue that adequate remuneration is necessary to attract qualified individuals and enable them to effectively perform their duties without undue financial constraints.

Additionally, they point out that their earnings are within legal frameworks and subject to periodic review by relevant authorities.

Civil society organisations, media outlets, and concerned citizens have consistently advocated for greater transparency and accountability in the management of public finances, including lawmakers’ earnings.

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