The Nigerian Senate President, Bukola Saraki has praised the Kwara State House of Assembly for passing a bill to suspend pension and other emoluments to ex-governors and deputies. He also urged other ex-governors who still hold public office, especially those in the Senate, to work towards stopping pensions they may be receiving as former governors.
Mr. Saraki, a former governor, in a statement, also hailed the Speaker of the Assembly, Ali Ahmad, for working to ensure the expeditious passage of the bill, as he urged other state houses of assembly to emulate Kwara.
The bill stopping the payment of pension to former governors and their deputies in Kwara State was passed by the House of Assembly last Tuesday, putting an end to controversies that the Senate President was one of those earning salaries from two sources.
The payment of salaries for life to some former governors, years after leaving office has, overtime, stirred controversies from a cross-section of Nigerians.
The governor of the state, Abdulfatah Ahmed, is expected to sign the bill into law.
The bill, when signed into law, will ensure that former governors and former deputies would no longer earn salaries from the state government whenever they are holding political and public offices.
Part of Mr. Saraki’s statement read, “I am pleased that following my conversation with Kwara Speaker, Ali Ahmad, two months ago, the bill to suspend the payment of pension to former governors and their deputies when they hold a political or public office was passed by the Kwara House of Assembly.
“It is expected that other former governors who now hold public offices, especially those in the National Assembly, would take steps to have their salaries put on the hold by their respective states.”
Some serving senators once served as governors and deputy governors of their respective states.
The onetime governors are: 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 are: Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto); Sani Yarima (Zamfara); Danjuma Goje (Gombe); Bukar Ibrahim (Yobe); Adamu Aliero (Kebbi) and George Akume (Benue).
The former deputy governors who are now senators are: Abiodun Olujimi (Ekiti), Enyinaya Abaribe (Abia) and Danladi Sani, who once served as the acting governor of Taraba.
Others who serve as ministers are: Labour & Productivity Minister Chris Ngige (Anambra); Minister of Mines & Steel Development Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti); Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers); Power, Works & Housing, Babatunde Fashola (Lagos).
The pension law in Akwa Ibom State for instance provides monthly pensions for former governor governors and former deputies salaries equivalent to that of the incumbent.
In some states, former governors are entitled to official accommodation in the state capitals, official cars, free overseas’ medical treatments for them and members of their families as well as security details and personal staff amongst other luxuries.