Nigeria: Group Urges Repeal of Pension Laws for Ex-Governors, Deputies

The Centre for Human and Socio-economic Rights (CHSR) has called on state legislatures to repeal Pension Laws for former governors and their deputies to improve citizens' welfare.

CHSR National President, Alex Omotehinse, made the appeal at a news conference on Thursday in Lagos.

Mr Omotehinse said such laws are illegal and endanger the socio-economic rights of Nigerians.

"Pension means regular payment made by the state to disables, widows or by a former employer to an employee after long service.

"It is also a periodical payment made by government, company or an employer in consideration of the service of an employee.

"This conference seeks to review the Nigeria pension laws with a view to identify whether state can enact pension law to grant pension and gratuities to ex-governors under the various state's pension laws.

"Research shows that only the National Assembly can make law on pension in Nigeria, therefore, the various states laws on pension and gratuity to ex-governors should be declared null, void and unconstitutional.

"Since the various state Houses of Assembly have refused to amend or abrogate the life pension for their ex-governors, the discourse must also refuse to die down too.

"Just recently, some Nigerians express outrage at the development in light of the dwindling economic situation in the country and the inability of most states to pay worker salaries," Mr Omotehinse said.

According to him, currently, about 20 former governors and their deputies are receiving salaries from public purse as either serving senators or ministers.

The rights activist said that the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) had approved payment of 300 per cent basic salary as severance allowances for political office holders on leaving office.

Mr Omotehinse stressed that in spite of this, various state legislatures had approved a wide range of entitlements for ex-governors and their deputies.

He said multiple remunerations from the treasury by public officers should be proscribed by law.

He described it as an anti-people policy that prompted corruption and made public offices more attractive to politicians.

On Lagos State, Mr Omotehinse said that machinery should be put in place by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the House of Assembly to repeal the state pension law approved by former Governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2007.

He urged Mr Sanwo-olu and the Speaker, Mudashiru Obasa, to introduce a bill that would repeal the bogus pension laws, Public Office Holder Law of Lagos State 2007.

The rights activist also called on the state governments to institute comprehensive and reliable social welfare programmes for the teeming poor residents.

He said: "More than 72 per cent of the annual budget finds its way to privileged few through bogus allowances, various contracts, elephant projects and direct stealing.

"We can halt this trend and use the comprehensive and reliable social welfare programme as turning point for state and human capital development.

"We, hereby, implore each legislative arm of the three tiers of government to keep themselves within the ambit of the law in order to enthrone peace, order and good governance."

Besides, he urged colleagues in the civil society and human rights community to join in challenging the laws on the street and in the courts since the laws are inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution.

NAN

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