Akwa Ibom Assembly expunges scandalous N100 million medical allowance from Akpabio’s pension law

Godswill Akpabio

Akpabio is, however, unwilling to give up his request for a mansion in Uyo or Abuja and N12 million medical allowance for his wife.

Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, in an expeditious sitting on Friday; expunged the scandalous N100 million medical allowance from Governor Godswill Akpabio’s controversial pension law.

A source in the assembly, who pleaded not to be named for security reasons, said 11 out of the 26 members of the house carried out the amendment on the controversial law.

He said when it was obvious that the remaining 15 lawmakers would not turn up for the day’s sitting, the Speaker, Sam Ikon, described by some lawmakers as Governor Akpabio’s stooge, commenced proceeding on the amendment.

“I can tell you that only 11 lawmakers turned up for the sitting today. All the members were aware that the law will be amended today but I don’t know why many of them did not turn up.

“When it was obvious that the 15 members will not come, the speaker called for the bill to be read and it was immediately put through an amendment.

“The speaker was careful to ensure that a quorum was formed before calling for the amendment to be carried.”

It was further learnt that the amended bill was immediately forwarded by Mr. Ikon to Mr. Akpabio, who readily signed it into law during the weekend.

PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively exposed Mr. Akpabio’s plan to pocket a staggering N200 million, among other scandalous perks after leaving office in 2015.

The governor, reputed for wasting his state’s oil money and for making outrageous donations across the country while millions of his own people wallow in poverty and disease, had attempted to secretly pass the scandalous law.

But following the report, Nigerians from all walks of life had strongly criticized him and the state’s rubber stamp assembly for passing the law, which would further impoverish the people of his state.

A former Governor of the state, Victor Attah, had also challenged Mr. Akpabio to publish how much he had paid him (Mr. Attah) and past leaders of the state as pension.

Mr. Attah, who spoke in a telephone interview with PREMIUM TIMES, also berated journalists, especially those who recently interviewed Mr. Akpabio for not asking him pertinent questions about his management of the state resources.

He said, “If Godswill Akpabio says he conceived the new law to put a ceiling to the expenses made on previous leaders of the state, somebody should have had the guts to ask him how much he has been paying to the past leaders.

“You journalists are afraid of Godswill Akpabio and that is why you have always shied away from asking some pertinent questions.”

Initially, Mr. Akpabio had scrambled to defend his action, buying prime time appearances on leading TV networks and sponsoring articles in national dailies to justify why he and his wife must live in mind-boggling opulence for the rest of their lives in a hugely indebted state where millions can’t find jobs.

A presenter in one of the private television stations, said to be a major beneficiary of Mr. Akpabio’s largesse, had come on air to defend the law, saying the governor was right to take any amount as pension “because he has done so much for the people.”

It, however, took the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan to force the profligate governor to at least reverse the whooping N100 million annual medical benefit provided for in the law.

Mr. Jonathan, PREMIUM TIMES had exclusively reported, summoned Mr. Akpabio to the Villa and advised him to issue a statement to formally reverse the law.

Addressing journalists in Lagos, a flustered Mr. Akpabio said following nationwide outcry, he would request the state Assembly to immediately review the law, with a view to expunging one of its obnoxious provisions.

“This is a democracy and you must listen to the voice of the people,” Mr. Akpabio said. “What I have decided to do, in consultation with the state executive council, is to appeal to the House of Assembly to immediately expunge the obnoxious provision or that which is interpreted to be obnoxious.”

He indicated he would only expunge the provision of the law which provided for N100million medical allowance for ex-governors. “I hope that will satisfy Nigerians,” he had said.

He is, however, unwilling to give up his request for a mansion in Uyo or Abuja and N12 million medical allowance for his wife.

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