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It’s unconstitutional for states to make pension laws— Rights group

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It’s unconstitutional for state to make pension laws— Rights group

The Centre for Human and Socio-economic Rights, CHSR, a non-governmental organisation, NGO, has called for the repeal of Lagos State Governor and Deputy Governors Pension Law, 2007, stating that it is unconstitutional.

The National President of CHSR, Alex Omotehinse, told newsmen in Lagos that only the National Assembly can make laws on pension in Nigeria.

He said the various states’ laws on pension and gratuity to ex-governors, their deputies and others should be declared null and void and unconstitutional.

“Since the various states’ houses of assembly have refused to amend or abrogate the outrageous life pension for their former governors, the discourse must also refuse to die down too.

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The NGO noted that currently, about 20 former governors and their deputies are drawing salaries from public purse as either serving senators or ministers.

They added that the Revenue Mobilisation Allowance and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, approved payment of 300% basic salary as severance allowances for political office holders on leaving office, but that various states Houses of Assembly had approved a wide range of entitlements for ex-governors and their deputies.

Omotehinse said: “According to the Lagos State pension law a former governor will enjoy two houses; one in Lagos and another one in Abuja, estimated by property experts to cost N500,000,000 and N700,000,000, respectively’

“Six new cars replaceable every three years, furniture allowance of 300% of annual salary to be paid every two years and N2,500,000 as monthly pension, which is about N30,000,000 annually.

“Meanwhile, the former governor will also enjoy security details, free medicals including for his immediate families and 10% house maintenance, 30% entertainment, 20% utilities and several domestic staff

“This is in a state where the same government has refused to provide public water for her citizens by giving the laughable excuse of privatising water, that the state doesn’t have the required resources to provide water for Lagosian.

“The 1999 Constitution, as amended, not only guarantees right to pension and gratuities of citizen is in the public service of a state or Federation, but goes on in the exclusive legislative list in item 44 to state clearly that pension and gratuities fall within the legislative competence of the National Assembly.

“Going by this provision, no state House of Assembly is competent to make pension and gratuity law for any public servant in Nigeria, therefore, state pension Laws are null and void.

“The true position of the law on pension and gratuities in Nigeria is that while Pension Act of 1979 which was replaced by the Pension Reform Act of 2004 is for civil servants, public officers or public office holders ought to be given their own Pension Act in accordance with the provision of the Constitution, therefore, the practice whereby each state house of Assembly is enacting Pension law for their ex-governors is illegal and unconstitutional.”

Vanguard

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