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SERAP asks Tinubu to stop ex-governors in his cabinet from collecting life pension

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)
has asked President Bola Tinubu to stop ex-governors named in his cabinets from
earning “life pensions” from their respective states.

 

In a letter dated August 19 and addressed to the president,
Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP’s deputy director, said the Nigerian 1999
constitution and the country’s international legal obligations forbid “the
appointment of former governors who collect life pensions while serving as
ministers”.

 

The SERAP deputy director said it would be “double
emoluments” for the ministers earning pensions, noting that Tinubu must halt
the process.

 

Last Wednesday, the president announced the appointment of
43 ministers with their respective portfolios.

 

Eight members of the cabinet are immediate past governors
and they include Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa); Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Bello
Matawalle (Zamfara); Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun); David Umahi (Ebonyi); Simon
Lalong, (Plateau); Atiku Bagudu, (Kebbi); and Ibrahim Geidam, former governor
of Yobe.

 

According to Oluwadare, “the states currently implementing
life pensions for former governors reportedly include Jigawa, Kebbi, Jigawa,
Ebonyi, Yobe, and Rivers”.

 

“You would be acting in the public interest by stopping former
governors now serving as ministers in your government from collecting life
pensions, especially given the current grave economic realities in the
country,” the SERAP deputy director said.

 

 “If the ministers
that the president appoints are those who collect life pensions rather than
serve the public interest, then that may show little about the conduct and
integrity of the ministers, but speak volumes about the exercise of
presidential power of appointment.

 

“Nigerians will judge you in part by the conduct, integrity
and honesty of the ministers that you appoint to work in your government.
Ultimately, the success of your government would depend on the conduct of the
ministers that you appoint.

 

“While many pensioners are not paid their pensions, former
governors serving as ministers get paid huge severance benefits upon leaving
office, and are poised to enjoy double emoluments on top of the opulence of
political office holders.

 

“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken
within seven days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have
not heard from you by then, SERAP shall consider appropriate legal actions to
compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.”

 

 “The exercise of your
power of appointment ought to reflect ethical and constitutional safeguards and
requirements, and the fundamental principles of integrity and honesty.”

 

Oluwadare said the organisation gives Tinubu a seven-day
ultimatum to address the recommendation or face a legal action.

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