Of all the states’ pension laws, the most outrageous is clearly that by Governor, Godswill Akpabio.
More than a dozen states out of Nigeria’s 36 have laws allowing their governors perpetuate their stranglehold on their states’ resources.
The laws are often hurriedly packaged and put in place by the state governors – in collusion with their rubberstamp state assemblies- few months before they leave office.
Lagos and Rivers States, under Ahmed Tinubu and Peter Odili respectively, were amongst the first states to approve such laws, designed specifically to allow the former state executives live off public purse in perpetuity.
Of all the versions yet, the most outrageous is clearly that by the current Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, reported exclusively this week by PREMIUM TIMES.
The law, which was hurriedly passed by the state assembly within a week of receiving it from Mr. Akpabio, allows the governor to pocket hundreds of million naira yearly after he leaves office.
Akwa Ibom is one of Nigeria’s richest states, but has one of the country’s worst unemployment situations.
Still, Mr. Akpabio is not the pioneer of the luxury law even in Akwa Ibom State. Former governor, Victor Attah, proposed and approved one in 2000, just a year after taking office. The passage of the new version will automatically repeal the old.
The difference between the two laws lies in their rates. Mr. Akpabio, notorious for an unbridled appetite for wasting public funds, wants the benefits at outlandish proportions.
Here are some differences/similarities of the two laws:
1. The two bills give “pension for life” to former governors and deputy governors at rates equivalent to their salaries when in office.
2. Attah’s version gives one official car, one personal aide, and “adequate” security. Akpabio’s bill also gives one personal aide, adequate, and one official car; but adds a utility vehicle every four years.
3. Attah’s law wants “funds” for ex-governor to hire a cook, a chauffeur and two security guards. Akpabio’s law demands same privileges but gives a price tag: N5 million (or $50,000).
The math behind that figure is puzzling: even where two cooks, two chauffeurs are hired, in addition to as much as 10 security guards (Attah’s law says two guards), and say the 14 workers are paid as much as N200,000 monthly(an impossible rate), the total personnel cost will cost N2.8 million(less than N5million).
4. Attah’s law provides for free medical services for a former governor and spouse. Akpabio’s version says the governor is entitled to N100million ($600,000) worth of medical service. Simply put, the governor will draw that amount yearly.
6. Attah’s law makes no provision for a house for the governor. Akpabio demands at least “5-bedroom maisonette” in Abuja or Akwa Ibom for the governor. The deputy governor is given no house, but 300% of annual basic salary for accommodation.
7. Akpabio provides 300% furniture allowance, 300% vehicle maintenance and fuelling, (Both earned severance gratuity of 300% salary), yearly utility of 100%, and entertainment allowance of 100%. Attah’s version of the law has none of these.
8. Both laws say the state will bear the cost of funeral of ex-governors while condolence allowance- equivalent to salary- is paid to next of kin.
9. Then, Akpabio’s version stipulates free medical services for himself and his wife at a sum not exceeding N100 million or an equivalent of $600,000.00. His wife is also to enjoy a N12 million medical allowance in case she survives him.
This post is supported by the Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation Programme, funded by DFID and managed by a consortium led by the British Council