Tweet about Nigerian senator earning N2.48m monthly as basic salary, partly true

Babatunde Okunlola

Claim: An X user claimed that a Nigerian senator earns N2.48m monthly as a basic salary, among other claims. 

Verdict: Partly true! The Senate President earns N2.48m monthly as a basic salary. However, other senators earn N2.26m monthly. 

Full Text

As Nigerians grapple with the rising costs of living amid calls for an increase in the national minimum wage, the issue of senators’ salaries has once again dominated public debate. The Nigerian Senate is the highest law-making body in the country, responsible for making and revising laws and approving federal and judicial appointments. It has often been criticised for its spending. 

While some reports claim senators earn exorbitant monthly salaries compared to their colleagues worldwide, there have been contrasting figures. 

As these details continue to be debated in the public space, on June 3, 2024, an X user tweeted that senators in Nigeria earn N2.48m monthly as a basic salary, among other claims. The tweet reads: 

“What a Nigerian Senator Earns monthly for bench-warming: Basic Salary – N2.48m, Hardship Allowance – N1.24m, Constituency Allowance – N4.97m, Furniture Allowance – N7.45m, Newspaper Allowance …But it’s N150,000-N200,000 you can’t pay despite the unbearable inflation & removal of subsidies!” 

As of June 6, 2024, the post had been viewed over 260,000 times, generating over 3,700 likes, 2,800 retweets, and 228 comments on the social media X.

It has also received reactions from users, who expressed outrage and disbelief. 

An X user, @theglobalfeed_, wrote: “That’s a shocking disparity! It appears that the Nigerian Senator’s monthly earnings are substantially higher than what the average citizen can afford. The total monthly earnings of the Senator, as listed, amount to approximately N23.4 million (around $57,000 USD).”

Also, @olorunwadayo wrote, “All these earnings will not cause inflation, but once workers start to get 400k above.. inflation will come.”

Another user, @DiceOfTruthexpressed disbelief and wrote: “How can this be true, how???”  

Having observed the various reactions and engagement generated by the post and its virality among other platform users, DUBAWA decided to fact-check it.

Verification 

According to the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), which sets guidelines and establishes official salaries and allowances for senators and last reviewed the remuneration package in 2007, the commission gives a breakdown of a senator’s and a senator’s earnings. While a senator in Nigeria earns N2.48 million as a basic salary, other senators receive N2.26m. 

Breakdown of the Senate President’s remuneration: 

This distinction between monthly and quarterly income is crucial. Senators’ total monthly income comprises two main parts: salary and a significant “running cost” allowance, which has been a point of contention. 

However, It is important to note that there has been some public debate about the transparency of these allowances. There might be discrepancies between what the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) recommends and what Nigerian senators ultimately receive. Some reports quoted the figures as N13.5 million monthly, but in 2021, then-Senate President Ahmad Lawan clarified it to be a quarterly sum, totalling N52 million annually.  

Running costs remain a grey area and are sometimes unclear, leading to suspicion of inflated allowances. There have also been suggestions that senators receive additional funds beyond the RMAFC’s recommendations under the category of running costs. The RMAFC claims no control over these running costs, and while legislative salaries are public record in Nigeria, the specific details of their compensation can be complex and vary depending on allowances and benefits

Conclusion  

Our findings show that the claim that a Nigerian senator receives N2.48 million for basic salary is partly true. Only the senate president earns N2.48 million. Other senators receive N2.26m monthly.  

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with Diamond 88.5 FM Nigeria, to enrich the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

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