The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, has its weight the call by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki for all former governors still serving in one government position or the other to stop receiving pensions from their states.
Saraki, had while commending the Kwara State House of Assembly for passing a bill to stop pensions of ex-governors still holding elective or appointive positions, called on other states and their assemblies to emulate Kwara state by passing a similar bill to abolish double pay.
SERAP, in backing Saraki’s stance, challenged the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Governor Abdulaziz Yari and his colleagues to show commitment and end double pay for ex-governors and their deputies, as well as “emulate the example of Senate President Bukola Saraki and make a clear public commitment that the Governors’ Forum and all governors will take immediate steps to abolish double emoluments laws for former governors and deputies in their states.”
Earlier on Tuesday, the non-governmental organisation had requested the President of the Senate to “use his leadership position to sponsor a resolution in the Senate that would call on other states to abolish payment of double emoluments to ex-governors and their deputies”.
SERAP has consistently frown at the situation where former governors and deputies receive pension after expiration of their tenures in office, while still holding public offices.
In a statement issued by its deputy director, Timothy Adewale, SERAP said, “Governor Yari should show leadership by example by starting the campaign within the Governors’ Forum to abolish double emoluments laws. The organisation called on Yari to kick start the move from his own Zamfara State which has passed laws allowing “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.
“Following the positive engagement and intervention by the Senate President on the matter, it is now indefensible for the Governors’ Forum to remain indifferent to the issue of double emoluments for ex-governors and their deputies. “We urge Governor Yari to speak out strongly against double pensions laws and encourage his colleagues to urgently take measures to abolish such laws in their states for the sake of millions of Nigerians who deserve good governance and sustainable development,” SERAP said.
The organisation had in a letter to Malami last year accused the following governors receiving double emoluments and large severance benefits from their states, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano); Kabiru Gaya (Kano); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Theodore Orji (Abia); Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa); Sam Egwu (Ebonyi); Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara); Joshua Dariye (Plateau), and Jonah Jang (Plateau). Others include: Ahmed Sani Yarima (Zamfara); Danjuma Goje (Gombe); Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe); Adamu Aliero (Kebbi); George Akume (Benue); and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers).”
Meanwhile, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, and his counterparts in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, and Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola have denied ever receiving double payments and retirement benefits as former governors in addition to other roles in public office. The Senate President had also last year said that he wrote a letter to the Kwara government to stop the payment of the pension “the moment I saw that SERAP allegation”.