Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state has signed into law the Fifth Amendment to the state’s pension bill which repeals the contentious 100 million Naira medical expenses for ex-governors and 50 million Naira medical allowance for former deputies.
The governor signed the latest amendment in Government House, Uyo.
The pension bill for former governors and deputy governors in Akwa Ibom State had attracted curious comments from the public, including a legal practitioner, George Eke, who advocated that the law be scrapped and a “Salary For Life” approach be adopted to allow those who have served to have benefits after their time in office.
The pension bill is a 16 year old law which came into existence in 1998 as a special grant for past state governors and their deputies .It was further amended in 1999 and adopted in 2000, 2007 and 2014 as pension bill.
Governor Akpabio explained that the contentious figures for medical allowance have been expunged from the new law while other aspects of the law remain intact. The repealed version, he said, has removed the ceiling on medical expenses for former governors and their deputies.
A legal practitioner, George Eke, on Wednesday advocated that the controversial ex-governor’s pension law be scrapped and a “Salary For Life” approach be adopted to allow those who have served to have benefits after their time in office.
“Let them have, at least for serving, life pension” he said, while on Sunrise Daily, describing the extra perks including cooks, security aides, houses as “looting and an abuse of the office.”
Although he commended Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpbabio for bringing the discussion to the front burner, Eke insisted that the law was an attempt by governor’s leaving office to get enough money to keep them secured after their tenures.
He stressed that the bill has been passed in almost all the States of the federation and wondered where the NGO’s and civil society groups were when the law was initially passed.
According to the lawyer, the perks for those who have served in office are too much, which is why many become desperate to be in power.
“Why must the governor be in the sky after serving?” he asked, noting that no destitute contests for the position of governor and so the law mandating that a 5-bedroom house for governor “is rubbish”.
On the health pension, Eke said the governors should make the health system work and then they can be given free medical attention after office.
“Let them have at least for serving, life pension” he said, describing the extra perks of cooks, security aides, houses in Abuja as “looting and an abuse of the office.”