Double pay for ex-govs now senators, ministers
Abuja and Lagos — State governments are spending billions of naira in pension payments to their former governors who are also drawing salaries from public purse as serving senators and ministers, Daily Trust reports.
There are 21 former governors and deputies in the Senate and President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet.
The Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) approves payment of 300 percent basic salary as severance allowances for political office holders on leaving office.
However, various state assemblies had approved a wide range of entitlements for ex-governors and their deputies.
Though the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Act doesn’t prohibit the former governors from drawing dual remuneration simultaneously, there are concerns on the financial implications on the states.
Only recently, President Buhari said 27 states were struggling to pay salaries despite collecting N662 billion bailout funds from the federal government last year.
The former governors now senators are: Bukola Saraki (Kwara), 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 Magatakarda Wamakko (Sokoto), Ahmed Sani Yarima (Zamfara), Danjuma Goje (Gombe), Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe), Adamu Aliero (Kebbi), George Akume (Benue) and Isiaka Adeleke (Osun).
Former deputy governors in the Senate are Ms Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti) and Enyinaya Harcourt Abaribe (Abia) while Danladi Abubakar Sani was the acting governor of Taraba state.
Former governors now ministers include Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti), Chris Ngige (Anambra) and Babatunde Fashola (Lagos).
Largess for ex-governors
According to a Lagos Pension Law approved by former governor Bola Tinubu in 2007, a former governor will enjoy the following benefits for life: Two houses, one in Lagos and another in Abuja. (Property experts estimates such a house in Lagos to cost N500 million and Abuja N700 million.)
Others are six brand new cars replaceable every three years; furniture allowance of 300 percent of annual salary to be paid every two years, and a close to N2.5 million as pension (about N30 million pension annually).
He will also enjoy security detail, free medicals including for his immediate families.
Other benefits are 10 percent house maintenance, 30 percent car maintenance, 10 percent entertainment, 20 percent utility, and several domestic staff.
In Rivers, the law provides 100 percent of annual basic salaries for ex-governor and deputy, one residential house for former governor “anywhere of his choice in Nigeria”; one residential house anywhere in Rivers for the deputy, three cars for the ex-governor every four years; two cars for the deputy every four years.
His furniture is 300 percent of annual basic salary every four years en bloc. House maintenance is 10 percent of annual basic salary.
In Akwa Ibom, the law provides for N200 million annual pay to ex governors, deputies. He enjoys a pension for life at a rate equivalent to the salary of the incumbent governor/deputy governor respectively.
A new official car and a utility vehicle every four years; one personal aide and provision of adequate security; a cook, chauffeurs and security guards for the governor at a sum not exceeding N5 million per month and N2.5 million for the deputy governor.
There is also a free medical services for governor and spouse at an amount not exceeding N100 million for the governor per annum and N50 million for the deputy governor.
Also, there is a five-bedroom mansion in Abuja and Akwa Ibom and allowance of 300 percent of annual basic salary for the deputy governor.
He takes a furniture allowance of 300 percent of annual basic salary every four years in addition to severance gratuity.
The Kano State Pension Rights of Governor and Deputy Governor Law 2007 provides for 100 percent of annual basic salaries for former governor and deputy.
Furnished and equipped office, as well as a 6-bedroom house; “well-furnished” 4-bedroom for deputy, plus an office.
The former governor is also entitled to free medical treatment along with his immediate families within and outside Nigeria where necessary. It is same for deputy.
Two drivers are also for former governor and a driver for his deputy; and personal staff below the rank of a Principal Administrative Officer and a PA not below grade level 10. There is a provision for a 30- day vacation within and outside Nigeria.
In Gombe, there is N300 million executive pension benefits for the ex-governor.
In Kwara, the 2010 law gives a former governor two cars and a security car, replaceable every three years, a “well-furnished 5-bedroom duplex,” furniture allowance of 300 per cent of his salary; five personal staff, three SSS, free medical care for the governor and the deputy, 30 percent of salary for car maintenance, 20 per cent for utility, 10 percent for entertainment, 10 per cent for house maintenance.
The Zamfara version of the law, signed in 2006, gives former governors pension for life, two personal staff, two vehicles replaceable every four years, two drivers, free medical for the former governors and deputies and their immediate families in Nigeria or abroad.
The law also gives the former governors a 4-bedroom house in Zamfara and an office, free telephone and 30 days paid vacation outside Nigeria.
In Sokoto, former governors and deputy governors are to receive N200 million and N180 million respectively being monetization for other entitlements which include domestic aides, residence and vehicles that could be renewed after every four years.
Section 2 (2) of the Sokoto State Grant of Pension (governor and deputy governor) Law, 2013 states that “the total annual pension to be paid to the governor and deputy governor, shall be at a rate equivalent to the annual total salary of the incumbent governor or deputy governor of the state respectively.”
We breached no law -Ex-governors
Senate President Bukola Saraki (APC Kwara central) confirmed collecting the pension but said the money goes as scholarship for indigent students.
Speaking through his media aide, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said his monthly pension was being paid into a special account.
Yusuf said Saraki “directed that a special account should be opened into which the money should be paid and that it should be used for a scholarship and education programme to be administered by a Board of Trustees.”
Plateau State ex-governor, Senator Joshua Dariye (PDP, Plateau central), said he was collecting N600,000 as pension monthly from the state government.
“They are paying me N600, 000 plus but they have not paid me my severance benefit. What do you mean? Those people that retired in the army and are now senators, are they not collecting their pensions?
“Even retired civil servants that are senators are being paid their pensions. This is pension and not salary. We all know that it is illegal to collect two salaries at a time,” he said by telephone.
Dariye said his pension could not stop the state government from paying teachers and other civil servants.
Kebbi State ex-governor, Senator Adamu Aliero (APC, Kebbi central) said “There is nothing wrong for a former governor now serving as senator or minister to be collecting pension. It is consistent with the pension law and absolutely nothing is wrong.”
He however said he had not been collecting his pension because “my immediate successor (Sa’idu Dakingari) did not pay me. And also the present governor (Atiku Bagudu) is not paying me.”
Ebonyi State former governor, Senator Sam Egwu (PDP, Ebonyi north) said he was collecting N462, 144 monthly as pension.
Egwu, who sent a text message to our correspondent containing his pension bank alert, said “It is a constitutional requirement that somebody who worked and retried must be given pension. It was under my tenure that the Ebonyi pension law was amended but I allowed it to be this meager because my state is a very poor one.”
Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong told Daily Trust that pension law is not implementable because “the former chief executives left the present administration with too much debt.
“They left the state heavily indebted that the present administration is battling to pay, and cannot be shouldering the upkeep of the former chief executives at the same time,” Lalong said through his spokesman Emmanuel Nanle.
What senators, ministers earn
According to RMAFC, a minister receives an annual basic salary of N2 million, accommodation N4 million, vehicle loan N8 million, furniture allowance N6 million, utility N607, 920, vehicle maintenance N1.5 million, entertainment N911, 880 and leave allowance N202, 640.
The minister also receives N506, 600 for personal assistants, N1.5 million for domestic staff, N303, 960 for newspapers and N6 million as severance gratuity.
In addition, the minister is entitled to N35, 000 as duty tour allowance (DTA) per day. For foreign trips, a minister receives $1,000 per day.
A senator earns a basic salary of N2,026,400.00,accommodation, motor vehicle loan(400% of their annual basic salary), motor vehicle maintenance allowance (75% of annual basic salary), furniture allowance(300% of their annual basic salary), utilities allowance( 30% of their basic salary), and medical allowance.
Other benefits they are earning are newspaper allowances, special assistant (between Grade Level 12 and 14), personal assistant, two legislative aides, one senior legislative aide, entertainment allowance, wardrobe allowance, constituency allowance and severance gratuity.
‘Legally right, morally wrong’
What the law says
Section 2 (a) of the CCB law provides that a public officer shall not “receive or be paid the emoluments of any public office at the same time as he receives or is paid emoluments of any other public office; or (b) except where he is not employed on full time basis, engage or participate in the management or running of any private business, profession or trade; but nothing in this sub-paragraph shall prevent a public officer from engaging in farming.”
Section 4 of the law says “A public officer shall not, after his retirement from public service and while receiving pension from public funds, accept more than one remunerative position as Chairman, Director or employee of – (a) a company owned or controlled by the government; or (b) any public authority. A retired public servant shall not receive any other remuneration from public funds in addition to his pension and the emolument of such one remunerative position.”
Section 14 of the same law exempted lawmakers from the above provisions thus: “In its application to public officers -(a) members of legislative houses shall be exempted from the Provisions of paragraph 4 of this Code; and (b) the National Assembly may by law exempt any cadre of public officers from the provisions of paragraph 4and 11 of this Code if it appears to it that their position in the Public Service is below the rank which it considers appropriate for the application of the provisions.”
Despite the above law, a coalition of 40 Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) had sued the 36 state governors, 36 state assemblies, RMAFC and the attorney general of the federation seeking to nullify the various pension laws enacted by some of the 36 States Houses of Assembly.
The suit which was filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja by the NGOs lead counsel, Barrister Chino Obiagwu, and seeking an order to recover any pension payments paid to ex-governor or deputy, saying the RMAFC law supersedes any law passed by the state legislatures