Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq has presented an executive bill to repeal the law granting payment of monthly pension to former Governors and the deputy governors before the State House of Assembly.
The Speaker, Mr Yakubu Danladi, announced the presentation of the Bill on Friday while reading the Governor’s message to the House during plenary.
The Speaker, while presenting the governor’s request, said the bill was tailored toward realising the cardinal objective of the state government on prudent management of resources.
All members at the plenary unanimously agreed that the bill had passed first reading after the presentation of the governor’s request for consideration.
Danladi later referred the bill to the House Committee on Rules and Business to slate the bill for deliberation during the next legislative sitting of the House.
Governor Abdulrazaq had earlier in November announced plans by the state government to abolish the payment of pension packages to former governors and former deputy governors in the state.
The announcement comes three days after Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State informed lawmakers in the State House of Assembly about his administration’s effort to stop the pension of former governors and deputies in the south-western state.
Former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly may have to refund money they have collected as Pensions since leaving office as state chief executives.
This is because a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has ordered the Federal Government to recover the funds and also directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other public officials to collect such pensions.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) disclosed this in a statement signed on Wednesday by its Deputy Director Kolawole Oluwadare.
The rights group also disclosed this in series of tweets on their official Twitter handle.
BREAKING: We’ve obtained a landmark judgment from the federal high court ordering @NigeriaGov to recover life pensions collected by Saraki, Akpabio, others & directing the AGF to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors to collect such pensions.
Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo delivered the judgement following an application for an order of mandamus brought by the SERAP.
Justice Oguntoyinbo had disagreed with the Attorney General and Minister of Justice who had maintained that the states’ laws duly passed cannot be challenged.
She insisted that the Attorney General should be interested in the legality or validity of any law in Nigeria and how such laws affect or will affect Nigerians
In the words of Justice Oguntoyinbo, “the attorney general is hereby directed to urgently institute appropriate legal actions to challenge the legality of states’ laws permitting former governors, who are now senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices and to identify those involved and seek full recovery of public funds from the former governors.”
The judgement comes against the backdrop of the recent decision of the Zamfara State House of Assembly abolishing the pension for former governors and other public officers in the state.
The enactment of the pension laws had attracted condemnation from Nigerians who have described it the trend as outrageous and morally indefensible by the former government officials.