This week, a Nigerian senator representing the governing party blew the whistle on an amazing story: Beyond their $2,000 per month salaries, senators in Nigeria have been receiving about $37,500 per month to spend on expenses, however they choose. At that rate, a two-term senator can amass $3.5 million in a country with annual per capita income of $2,175.
“It was a moral issue,” said Shehu Sani, the senator in question (pictured above). “You could take care of over 100 graduates from a senator’s salary,” he said. “The legislature should deliberate on the abject poverty and unemployment in the country.” Think Mr. Sani is popular with his colleagues today?
But this is not just a story about corruption, about people going into government to make big money they can hide from the public. It’s also a story about personal and political courage and the fight against corruption in one of Africa’s most economically and politically important countries. This is how nations make progress.