Saraki bows to pressure, stops collection of pension in Kwara

From left: Editor-in-Chief, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mallam Yusuf Zango; Senate President Bukola Saraki; and a Deputy Editor-in-Chief/Head of Political Desk in NAN, Mr Olisanyem Ifeajika, during the Senate President’s appearance on NAN Forum in  Abuja on on Tuesday (1/8/17). 
03955/1/8/2017/ Jones Bamidele/NAN
From left: Editor-in-Chief, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mallam Yusuf Zango; Senate President Bukola Saraki; and a Deputy Editor-in-Chief/Head of Political Desk in NAN, Mr Olisanyem Ifeajika, during the Senate President’s appearance on NAN Forum in Abuja on on Tuesday (1/8/17). 03955/1/8/2017/ Jones Bamidele/NAN

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, said he has stopped collecting pension in Kwara as a former governor of the state.

He said, at the News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja, that he wrote a letter to the state government to stop the payment of the pension.

According to Mr. Saraki, the move was sequel to complaints from some quarters that former governors who are currently senators or ministers were receiving pension and salary in their new jobs, all from the government.

A civil society organisation, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), had accused the former governors of receiving double pay from government, and said it was illegal.

“No, I’m not collecting pension; the moment I saw that allegation, I wrote to my state to stop my pension.

“So, I speak for myself on that part; I’m not doing that, I am not receiving pension from my state,’’ he said.

On other senators involved on the issue, Mr. Saraki said, “I think I will leave everybody to their individual decision.

“Morally, if you have got another job, you should give it up until when you are truly a pensioner.

“Some of these oversights are not addressing the issues. What the states should do is to go and amend their laws to say that if you have another appointment then you are not entitled to that benefit.

“With this, we will just simplify the matter.”

On the role of Bank of Infrastructure in the country, Mr. Saraki said that the Senate had not had any serious interface with the bank, but that it was involved in some projects.

“We are not engaging with them particularly. I think that they were part of those involved in the Lagos-Ibadan road. But, I don’t think government should really put funds into that.

“I have this strong view and I feel very strongly about it, that nowhere in the world has government funded infrastructure.

“Government cannot, and even if government can fund infrastructure projects, the social sector will suffer – health will suffer and education will suffer.’’

He said there were a lot of complaints that budgetary allocation to health and education was too low, attributing it to the fact that much money was being invested in infrastructure development.

Mr. Saraki explained that due to the challenges, the National Assembly had passed bills that would encourage private sector participation in infrastructure development.

“What should happen is that we should try and get private sector to take over some of these infrastructure so that the money can go into education and health.

“By doing that, banks like Bank of infrastructure will come in.

“We are really pushing the idea of, particularly, the Lagos-Ibadan road, that appropriating that project from the budget does not show seriousness.

“This is a road that is very viable; that is centre of the commercial activity and we should see how private sector can participate.

“For example, even if you go by the budgetary allocation on that road, last year was N30 billion, this year, after back and forth, we took it back to N20 billion.

“This was done so that if they don’t find private funding, we will take it up,’’ he said.

According to him, even if the N30 billion was provided, it will not be enough because that road needs about N100 billion to be completed.

“So, the point I’m making which I want to emphasise is that it is the kind of laws and policies that we pass that will encourage private sector that will make the infrastructure deficit to reduce.

“Government alone cannot reduce infrastructure deficit,” Saraki said.

He confirmed that the senators had fulfilled their October, 2016 pledge to contribute N300, 000 each to support Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North-East.

He said that the senate would continue to tackle humanitarian crisis in the North-East through budgetary appropriations.

“I think that to the best of my knowledge, that is happening but it goes beyond just that. I think that we have shown that we will continue to support in form of appropriation of adequate money.

“As you saw just last week, we also approved some foreign loan that will go toward supporting activities in the North-East as palliative means to fight humanitarian crisis.

“We are close to about 800 million dollars we approved for the executive from that point of view.

“We are always ready to support our men and women in uniform to ensure that whatever they required was provided,” Saraki said.

He added that the lawmakers had being meeting with a lot of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to provide support to the North-East.

“We are looking at the possibility of what we can do to create more incentives for Nigerians.

“We are approaching individuals and companies to make more donations and see what kind of concessions they can get for the kind of donations they are making in the North-East,” he said.

(NAN)


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  • FirecloudOFGOD

    Good, man! That is how to lead from the front! We need more fundamental and earth-shaking example from you and your colleagues in the Senate. Honestly, Nigeria is at present like a powder keg. We need to manage the situation gingerly, very delicately. I take it that this is a first step. Keep it up!

  • Rollingdollar

    Well done ✅
    Now you need to refund all the money you earned as pension while still drawing salary from the senate. Full stop

  • marcos avelino

    If you were in Korea or Israel you will go to prison. Even Pakistan last week sacked its prime minister implicated in the Panama case !! Here in Nigeria Denzani and GEJ can get away with stealing 20 Billion USD with no consequences !! The black man has a long way from his bush

  • Bright Ezeh

    Good one sir please talk to your colleagues to stop theirs too

  • Jaja Majaja

    CRIMINAL

  • Comfortkay

    Who will believe his statement, where is the copy of the letter he wrote and when did he wrote it. Nigerian wants to know all these. Senate President it is not enough to cook a story for us to read, we need a prove.

    • Mufu Ola

      Why don’t u send your address to Saraki or Kwara govt? They will send d letter to you. This frivolous postings must stop!

      • Comfortkay

        Saraki foot soldier, why did you refused to get a bit education

        • Mufu Ola

          If u’ve been on this platform for some time, u would have known I’m one of Saraki’s public enemy No1. But that doesn’t mean just knocking 4 knocking sake. He said he has stopped taking pension.He didn’t even deny not taking it in d 1st case as some could have done.So we should accept he has stopped unless u can proof he has not. Asking for letter is meaningless to me.Is he supposed to plaster the photocopy on pages of newspapers? Let’s get serious, Comfortkay!

      • doteezy

        @mufu ola…you are nothing but a senseless Nigerian. You say frivolous postings? Do you consider the fraud and misappropriation of funds done by these politicians frivolous? Do you consider the state Nigeria is in frivolous and not worthy to be discussed. Don’t you think there is need for a total overhaul in this country?

  • Dan maikoko

    Chief legislator of our country thinks that government does not fund infrastructure . In every nation in the world its government that funds everything through legislation. If you want rice production you must fund power, transportation , security and agriculture . Without basic infrastructure even laws will be useless. It is government that directs development throw concessions, laws and infrastructure.

  • Gary

    Nice dodge, Mr. Senate President.
    It is an abdication of moral and legislative responsibility for you to leave it up to your ex-Governor fellow Senators to decide if each has any integrity or conscience to stop the double-dipping from outlandish self-awarded pensions and the fantastic compensation package of NASS legislators. They live lavishly while millions of ordinary citizens are jobless and hungry in the same country.

    Senator Saraki, are you unaware that slavery is now official state policy in Nigeria, a country where you are currently third in line to the Presidency? Seriously, what do you call a situation in which people are put to work by the state and not paid their wages or earned pensions; stretching into months and over a year in some states? Slavery, that’s right.
    And you are the Senate President and feel no shame in saying that it is up to your colleagues to stop the double/dipping without legislation to formally stop the cruel and horribly selfish and greedy practice.

    Do you want to wait until the fed up people storm the NASS with pitch-forks and knives to attack their oppressors before doing right by them? Please always consider your own self-interest and physical well-being when dealing with issues of fairness and justice for the Nigerian people.
    We expect legislation to stop the double-dipping forthwith. It’s long overdue and should be accompanied by a public apology by the greedy beneficiaries.

  • Izedomi Ohirein

    Let Saraki return all the so called Pension and benefit in kind he has received from Kwara State since 2007.
    The people of Kwara State need selfless leaders not scroungers looting them blind.

  • FreeNigeria

    The bastard thief Saraki. At the end you’ll die, what legacy will you leave behind except for massively corrupt.

    • shasha

      You need a brain refurbishment because at the end you poor rat will not die.

      • Sword of Damocles

        IRONY is your middle name, proven by the fact that you will not understand/”get the gist” of my riposte.

  • tunde008

    The masses will come after all of you in due course.You all better return all you have stolen from the people or you all will be chased away from the NASS

  • Sword of Damocles

    A Dirge to CHARACTER & MORALITY:

    I will not cast aspersions on the person of the Senate President. I just want to make some observations that might shed some introspective light on the the type of person Nigeria is priviledged or cursed to call the #3 citizen.

    these are the Senate president’s words: “No, I’m not collecting pension; the moment I saw that allegation, I wrote to my state to stop my pension.”

    Questions: How many payments had the SP received prior to sending the letter to cease the payments? Has he returned the monies for the payments already received?

    again his words: “Morally, if you have got another job, you should give it(pension payments) up until when you are truly a pensioner.”

    if the Senate president received ANY payments, did he not know that it was MORALLY REPUGNANT to receive double payment from the government BEFORE?

    Again Senator Saraki (a man who reportedly holds an MD certification) said this: ““I have this strong view and I feel very strongly about it, that nowhere in the world has government funded infrastructure.”

    This is patently FALSE, and I will cite just one factual example that can be peer-reviewed(in this context, confirmed by online research). President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 into law,thereby creating the US Interstate System that constituted construction projects that linked all of the vast lands of the USA including rural areas. Hence what the SP said is not correct(apparently a whole senate president with his retinue of aides does not even know that infrastructure is a SEMINAL function of government, and yes including health & social welfare, these right/ social contract are not mutual exclusive.