Under the new law, Mr. Akpabio is also entitled to a mansion, new official car and a utility vehicle once in every four years, one personal aide and the provision of adequate security for his person.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, has defended his N200 million annual pay retirement perks, saying the new law was in the interest of the state.
Speaking through the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Aniekan Umana, Mr. Akpabio said he merely amended an existing law to check wastage of public funds.
Mr. Umana spoke on a programme on Planet FM, a private radio station in Uyo,
The commissioner is quoted to have said, “The bill is simply an amendment to the law enacted in 2006. It exists in several states. What the bill seeks to achieve is limit endless medical expenditure.
“The old law didn’t put any cap on medical expenditure. There was no limit. But the governor in his own wisdom decided it was important we put a ceiling so that we don’t make it open ended any more.
“The governor is not seeking an amendment in his own interest; rather it is in the interest of the state because if you leave expenditure open ended it means you can spend close to N500million in one year without anybody stopping you since there is no law.
“People must also understand that medical expenses provision is not a payment. It is not as if you have access to it. There are procedures before you can get it.”
The mother of all pension laws
PREMIUM TIMES had on Thursday exclusively reported that Mr. Akpabio, was putting pressure on the state lawmakers to expeditiously pass the controversial law to enable him pocket a whooping N200 million in retirement perks every year.
Based on Section 1(1) of the law, “An indigene of the state who has held office as a democratically elected governor or deputy governor of former Cross River State and a person who has held office as a democratically elected governor or deputy governor of the state shall when he ceases to hold office be entitled,” to the new perks.
Although similar laws have been passed by many Nigerian governors including those of Lagos, Rivers, Bauchi and Benue states, among others.
Under the proposed law, Mr. Akpabio and others listed in Section 1(1) are entitled to a monthly pension for life at the rate equivalent to his current salary.
Similarly, the serving deputy governor, Valerie Ebe is entitled to a monthly pension for life at the rate of her current salary.
Under the law, Mr. Akpabio and his deputy; Mrs. Ebe will, therefore, pocket a total of N2, 223, 705. 00; and N2, 112, 215, 00 respectively as monthly and a total of N26, 684, 460,00 and N25, 346, 580 respectively as pension, per annum.
This is based on approved remuneration package for state executive and local government executive by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.
The governor is also entitled to a new official car and a utility vehicle once in every four years, one personal aide and the provision of adequate security for his person during his lifetime at the expense of the state government.
Akwa Ibom taxpayers are also expected to provide an amount not exceeding N5 million or an equivalent of $50,000.00 monthly for Mr. Akpabio to engage the services of a cook, chauffeurs and security guards.
This provision is in contrast with Section 1(b) of the bill, which indicates that security shall be provided to former governors during their lifetime at the expense of the government.
However, the deputy governor is entitled to N2million naira or an equivalent of $20,000.00 monthly allowance to hire cooks, chauffeurs and security guards.
Mr. Akpabio and his spouse are to also access free medical services at a sum not exceeding N100 million or an equivalent of $600,000.00, while the deputy and her spouse will pocket N30 million or an equivalent of $200,000.00, annually.
Between Attah and Akpabio’s pension laws
While it was the former Governor, Victor Attah, who first initiated the pension law in the state in 2000, the version sponsored by Mr. Akpabio is clearly outrageous.
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.