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FG Asks SERAP To Provide List Of Former Public Office Holders Receiving Life Pensions

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Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on Sunday said the Federal Government has asked the group to send the full list of former governors and ministers that have received and/or receiving double pay and life pensions.

According to the FG, the list will enhance and ensure compliance with the judgment of the court.

The group had sent a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami asking him to “advise and persuade President Muhammadu Buhari fully enforce the judgment.”

In his reply dated 24 February 2020 but which SERAP said it received 2 March 2020, Mr Malami said: “Kindly refer to your letter dated 6th December, 2019. I am writing to inform your esteemed organization to furnish me with the full list of the former governors and ministers which are affected by the judgment by Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, in order to enhance and ensure compliance with the ruling of the Honourable Court. Please, treat with utmost urgency.”

In response to the letter, SERAP said: “Immediate obedience to the judgment will be a victory for the rule, and provide an impetus for the government’s anti-corruption fight. It will also be a rare piece of good news for the people of Nigeria, as it will send a powerful message to former governors and ministers that have collected and/or collecting double pay that they will be held to account for their actions, and mark the end of this state-level impunity.”

“We hope this judgment will be implemented duly and promptly for the sake of integrity, accountability and proper management of public resources by state governors.”

“Complying with the judgment as promised will enhance the authority, integrity and independence of the judiciary. It will be entirely consistent with the government’s constitutional responsibility and international human rights and anti-corruption obligations.”

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“By implementing the judgment, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will be demonstrating the important role that our judiciary can play in the fight against corruption in the country.”

“Former Senate President Dr Bukola Saraki stated that he stopped collecting pensions while in the Senate the moment he saw the allegation by SERAP. However, it is unclear if he has returned all the public funds collected as pension from Kwara State.”

“According to public records, the following are reportedly collecting and/or have collected double emoluments and large severance benefits from their states: 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 include: Ahmed Sani Yarima (Zamfara); Danjuma Goje (Gombe); Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe); Adamu Aliero (Kebbi); and George Akume (Benue).”

“So far, Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Works and Housing, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, former Minister of Mines and Steel Development, and Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transportation have denied ever receiving double payments and retirement benefits as former governors.”

“However, we urge you to urgently ask anti-corruption agencies and other appropriate agencies of government to verify these claims, and to investigate the cases of other former governors and ministers that have collected and/or still collecting double pay and life pensions, and to publish the findings of any such investigations.”

“Similarly, public records also show that at least 22 states have passed life pensions laws allowing payment of life pensions to former governors and other ex-public officials. These states include: Akwa Ibom, Lagos, Edo, Delta, Kano, Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Bauchi, Abia, Imo, Bayelsa, Oyo, Osun, Kwara, Ondo, Ebonyi, Rivers, Niger, Kogi and Katsina,” the letter read in part.

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