Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, an NGO, has decried the payment of N40 million each, to former presidents and heads of state.
MURIC made its position known in a statement issued by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola, in Ibadan, yesterday.
The group described the decision as anti-people and capitalist-driven, lamenting that the Nigerian system made the “rich richer and the poor poorer.”
The statement said: “How decent are we as a people if thousands of retirees are denied their benefits for years, but we proudly present huge amounts of money to former presidents and ex-heads of state?
“Where is our humanity if a whopping N40 million is paid to an ex-president, who arrogated all the honey and milk in the land to himself while in office and we still pay a paltry N18,000 as minimum wage to workers who grease the machines of our economy?”
According to Akintola, this socio-economic imbalance emboldens criminals, frustrates the youths, diminishes patriotism and slows down the war against corruption.
… impact on corruption fight
He said the Federal Government alone cannot fight corruption alone, but needed the people to join the fight.
His words: “How will an overworked, underpaid, impoverished and oppressed people, who are living witnesses to the waste of our common wealth, willingly join the fight?
“The truth is that perhaps no present ex-president or former head of state lives in penury to today. Our ex-presidents are not in dire need of cars from the Federal Government. Majority of them are in palatial mansions on hilltops in choice locations all over the country.’’
He said that the “super-rich” ex-presidents should be giving to the poor masses and not sucking from their blood again, adding that Islam encourages equitable distribution of wealth.
Akintola faulted the idea of buying new cars for leaders while ignoring the cries of pensioners.
He advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to abandon poor Nigerians or succumb to blackmail from greedy and selfish citizens, but to remain focused in his determination to rid Nigeria of wasteful spending.
Akintola noted that God will ask every leader how he conducted the affairs of his people on the day of resurrection.