SERAP Asks FCT Court To Declare Life Pension Law For Ex-Council Chairs, Others Illegal

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Updated January 19, 2020

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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has asked the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court to restrain the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) from paying life pensions to former officials, and to themselves under the life pension edict/law 2019 passed by AMAC.

SERAP in a lawsuit asked the court to stop AMAC, its chairman; deputy chairman; speaker; legislature and/or their agents, and recover all previous payments made under the AMAC life pension edict/law, from those who have already collected pensions.

A statement by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the returns when returned, can be spent to provide public goods and services for residents of the FCT.

“The court should exercise its inherent and statutory powers to defend the sanctity of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 (as amended), and hold that the AMAC pension edict is unconstitutional and stop any payment of pensions under the said edict. Unless the reliefs sought are granted, AMAC and its officials will continue to use the pension edict for personal gain, in breach of constitutional provisions, and at the expense of the people and residents of the council’s area. This is what the provisions of Section 1, Part 1, and Fifth Schedule of the Constitution expressly forbid.

“Under the pension edict, AMAC’s past council chairmen would receive an annual pension of N500,000; former vice chairmen are to receive N300,000 each while former speakers will be paid N200,000 each.”

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SERAP also said: “It is only the National Assembly that has the power to make laws on pension under the Nigerian Constitution. AMAC and its officials went beyond the scope of their constitutional powers to make laws on payment of annual pensions for the council’s former chairmen, former vice-chairmen and former speakers.

“The payment of life pensions to the council’s chairmen, vice-chairmen and speakers would cause the massive financial crisis and cripple the council’s ability to discharge its mandates of providing public goods and services to the people of Abuja. It would also put in jeopardy citizens’ access to those services.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.