SERAP urges ex-governors to reject pensions

July 1, 2019
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FORMER governors now in Ninth Senate were yesterday advised by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to reject pensions from their respective states.

The organisation also urged them to return the pensions already collected to the public treasury and push for the abolition of double emoluments laws for former governors and their deputies.

Several of the 36 states have enacted pension-for-life laws for former governors and deputies. Some tried it for the legislators.

The Bayelsa and Kano states’ Houses of Assembly passed the bill but governors Abdullahi Ganduje (Kano) and Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa) declined assent following public outrage.

Among former governors in the Ninth Senate who will enjoy such pensions are  Orji Uzor Kalu and his successor Theodore Orji (Abia);  Sam Egwu (Ebonyi); Rochas Okorocha (Imo); Ibikunle Amosu (Ogun); Kashim Shettima (Borno), Ibrahim Gaidam (Yobe), Ibrahim Shekarau (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto) and Danjuma Goje (Gombe).

In a statement issued yesterday by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP said: “as members of the Ninth Senate resuming Tuesday, there is a lot at stake.

“The leadership and members must now take meaningful steps to improve citizens’ trust and confidence in the Senate’s authority and ability to positively impact on their lives, by embracing the values of transparency, accountability, responsibility, solidarity and respect for human rights.

SERAP urged Senate President Ahmed Lawan to sponsor a resolution and prevail on Senators to stop double pay for public office holders.

It pointed out that failures to allocate adequate financial resources to health, education, water in part because of payment of life pensions to former governors directly contravene Nigeria’s obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

“Under the Certain Political Office Holders and Judicial Officers Remuneration Act, former governors who are lawmakers are already entitled to 300 per cent of their basic salary as severance pay at the end of their terms as senators.

Read also: SERAP to Ganduje: reject fat pensions, luxury cars for life for Kano lawmakers

“Other ex-governors in the Ninth Senate include: former governor Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu); Adamu Aliero (Kebbi) and Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa).

“In Akwa Ibom, the state law provides for N200 milion annual pay to ex-governors, deputies; pension for life; a new official car and utility-vehicle every four years; one personal aide and provision of adequate security; a cook, chauffeurs and security guards for the governor at a sum not exceeding N5m per month and N2.5m for the deputy governor; free medical services for governor and spouse totaling N100m for the governor per annum, a five-bedroom mansion in Abuja and Akwa Ibom; and allowance of 300 percent of annual basic salary for the deputy governor; 300 percent of annual basic salary every four years and severance gratuity.

“In Gombe State, there is N300 million executive pension benefits for the ex-governors. In Kwara State, the 2010 law gives a former governor two cars and a security car replaceable every three years; a well-furnished 5-bedroom duplex; 300 per cent of his salary as furniture allowance; five personal staff; three State Security Services; free medical care for the governor and the deputy; 30 per cent of salary for car maintenance; 20 per cent for utility; 10 percent for entertainment; 10 per cent for house maintenance.

“Benefits accruable to former governors of Edo State under the Pension Rights of the Governor and Deputy Governor Law 2007 amount to 100 per cent of the salary of the incumbent governor for life, an officer not above Salary grade level 12 as Special Assistant, a personal secretary not below grade level 10 who shall be selected by the former governor from the public service of Edo State.

“In Osun State, the law guiding the payment of pensions to former governors and their deputies is cited as the Pension (Governor and Deputy Governor) Law 2001. The law stipulates that former governors and former deputy governors shall be entitled to pension at the rate equivalent to the incumbent office holder.

“In Zamfara State, pension law allows former governors to receive pension for life; two personal staff; two vehicles replaceable every four years; two drivers, free medical for the former governors and deputies and their immediate families in Nigeria or abroad; a 4-bedroom house in Zamfara and an office; free telephone and 30 days paid vacation outside Nigeria.

“Under the Lagos Pension Law, a former governor will enjoy the following benefits for life: two houses, one in Lagos and another in Abuja estimated to cost between N500m and N700m. Others are six brand new cars every three years; furniture allowance of 300 percent of annual salary every two years, and a close to N2.5m as pension (about N30m pension annually).

“In Rivers, the state law provides 100 percent of annual basic salaries for ex-governor and deputy, one residential house for former governor anywhere of his choice in Nigeria; one residential house anywhere in Rivers for the deputy, three cars for the ex-governor every four years; two cars for the deputy every four years; 300 per cent of annual basic salary every four years for furniture; 10 percent of annual basic salary for house maintenance.

“Similarly, the Kano State Pension Rights of Governor and Deputy Governor Law 2007 provides for 100 percent of annual basic salaries for former governor and deputy; furnished and equipped office; a 6-bedroom house; well-furnished 4-bedroom for deputy, plus an office; free medical treatment along with immediate families within and outside Nigeria where necessary; two drivers; and a provision for a 30- day vacation within and outside Nigeria.

“In Sokoto State, former governors and deputy governors are to receive N200m and N180m respectively being monetization for other entitlements which include domestic aides, residence and vehicles that could be renewed after every four years”, SERAP explained.

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