19 July 2012

Nigeria: Labour Leaders Condemn Bill Seeking Pension for Lawmakers

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) on Thursday in Lagos condemned a bill seeking pension and gratuity for legislators.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos, leaders of the two unions said that legislation in Nigeria was not a career and should not attract pension and gratuity.

The leaders were reacting to a bill conceived by Mr Babatunde Adewale representing the Apapa Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.

Adewale had said at a town hall meeting in Apapa, Lagos, that the bill was aimed at reducing corruption among lawmakers.

He said it would also aid their oversight function.

NLC Deputy President Promise Adewusi said the bill should not be passed.

"The reason lawmakers earn jumbo pay is because they will not be entitled to any form of gratuity when they leave office.

"If they insist on receiving pension and gratuity, they must be ready to follow the rules stated in the 2004 Pension Act," Adewusi said.

He said that the bill would attract resentment from most Nigerians.

On his part, the TUC General Secretary, Chief John Kolawole, told NAN that the bill was an abuse of privilege.

He said that it would be detrimental to the country's legislative system.

Also speaking, Comrade Phillip Agbonkonkon, the General Secretary, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees, also condemned the bill.

"We condemn the bill; it should not be passed unless the legislators want to overheat the polity," he said.

The unionist said that since many retirees from the public service had yet to receive their pensions, it would be unfair for lawmakers to pass such a bill.

In his comments, Comrade Joe Ajaero, the General Secretary, National Union of Electricity Employees, noted that the Pension Act covered only the pension fund contributors.

He advised the House of Representatives not to consider such a bill.

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