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Stop paying ex-governors scandalous pensions – Falana

Human Rights activist, Femi Falana (SAN), has called on Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Rivers state governments to stop paying what he described as scandalous pensions to ex-governors while workers are owed arrears of meagre pensions.

He made the call on Sunday in a statement made available to our correspondent.

According to him, not less than 20 ex-governors are in the Senate, receiving jumbo salaries and allowances.

“Lagos was the first state to implement a pension law for its former governors. The Lagos State Pension for Ex-Governors was enacted in 2007.

“Since then, the majority of states adopted the Lagos model. But the pension laws for Lagos, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers states are the most scandalous.”

Giving details of the Lagos pension law for Lagos ex-governors, Falana noted that, according to the law, an ex-Lagos governor is being given 100 percent of the annual basic salaries of the incumbent governor, and is provided “one residential house in Lagos and another in the FCT, Abuja.”

He also gets “three cars, two backup cars and one pilot car every three years.”

An ex-Lagos governor also gets furniture allowance of “300 percent of annual basic salary every two years,” and gets “10 percent of annual basic salary,” for house maintenance.

He is also provided with “domestic staff, such as cook, steward, gardener and other domestic staff (no limit) who shall be pensionable.”

There is also “free medical treatment for ex-governors and members of their families (not just spouses).”

For security, he also gets “two SSS operatives, one female officer, eight policemen (four each for house and personal security)”.

An ex-Lagos governor also gets “10 percent of annual basic salary,” for car maintenance; “20 percent of annual basic salary” for entertainment.

He is also provided with drivers.

For ex-Rivers governor, Falana noted that they get  “100 percent of annual basic salaries of the incumbent governor.”

They get “one residential house anywhere of his choice in Nigeria,” and are provided with “three cars every four years,” with “30 percent of annual basic salary,” for car maintenance.

An ex-Rivers governor also gets “300 percent of annual basic salary every four years,” for furniture; and “10 percent of annual basic salary,” for house maintenance.

He is also provided with “domestic staff, such as cook, steward, gardener and other domestic staff (no limit) who shall be non-pensionable.”

In addition, there is “free medical treatment for ex-governors and members of their families (not just spouses and no cap).”

An ex-Rivers governor also gets “two SSS operatives, four policemen (two each for house and personal security).”

He also gets “10 percent of his annual basic salary,” for entertainment; “20 percent of his annual basic salary,” for utility and he is also provided with drivers.

Falana also highlighted the pension package for ex-governors of Akwa-Ibom State.

He stated: “Annual Basic Salary: 100 percent of annual basic salaries of the incumbent governor.

“Accommodation: One house not below five-bed maisonette in either Abuja or Akwa Ibom.

“Transport: One car and one utility car every four years. Furniture: 300 percent of annual basic salary every four years. Domestic staff: Amount not above N5m to employ cooks, chauffeurs and security.

“Medical: Free treatment and spouse not exceeding N100m per year (this provision will soon be reverted to “free” without limit following outcry).

“Security: “Adequate” (not specified). Personal Assistant: One. Car maintenance: 300 percent of annual basic salary. Entertainment: 100% of annual basic salary.

“Utility: 100 percent of annual basic salary. Drivers: Amount not above N5m. Severance gratuity: 300 percent annual basic salary.”

Falana noted that the National Industrial Court had declared as null and void the payment of pension and gratuity to former governors and deputy governors.

According to him, the court made the declaration in the judgment in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/1497/2017 filed by  Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project against the Attorney-General of the Federation.

He said the pronouncement was also made in a suit marked  NICN/JOS/26/2016 filed by Alhaji Garba Umar against the Taraba State Government.

“In 2022, the Lagos State Government announced a 50 percent reduction in the pension. Senators Daniel and Dankwambo have directed the governments of Ogun and Gombe to stop paying them the pension since they are receiving salaries and allowances in the National Assembly.

“The governments of Kwara, Imo and Zamfara States have abolished the payment of the pension. We call on other state governments to abolish the pension as soon as possible. Nigeria can no longer afford to pay scandalous pension to ex-governors while workers are owed arrears of meagre pension. Therefore, the pension laws applicable to other public officers should also apply to all ex-governors.”

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