He spoke at the Distinguished Parliamentarians Lecture in Abuja, yesterday.
The event was organised by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
He revealed that the total salary of a senator is about N1.5 million and N1.3 million for a member House of Representatives.
The average office running cost for a senator and a member of the House of Representatives is N13 million and N8 million.
He pointed out that the budget of the National Assembly since 1999 has never gone above N150 billion, which accounts for about three per cent of the yearly budget.
On the issue of the constituency and zonal intervention projects, he said that the system allows legislators to nominate projects in their constituencies but they do not implement them.
“In line with their legislative mandate, they exercise oversight over the process. Corruption in Nigeria is a complex issue.
Though corruption in any arm of government is not acceptable and must be condemned, too, however, single out one arm of government without any hard evidence is to undermine the authority of that institution.
“The purchase of operational vehicles for members of the National Assembly has received extensive media attention,” Lawan said.
He noted that if civil servants from the rank of assistant director and above are entitled to official vehicles and some ministers have a convoy of cars, he doesn’t see why the allocation of a Toyota Camry and a Land Cruiser to members would be such a hideous proposition.
He said the major factor that contributed to the negative perception was political apathy, arising from the school of thought that politics is a dirty game and that politicians are dirty.
He promised that the 9th Assembly would continue to improve public perception of the legislature, stressing that the lawmakers are not a “rubber stamp”.