Human rights lawyer Femi Falana, SAN, has called for an end to what he described as scandalous pensions for some former governors in Nigeria.
Falana expressed his displeasure that while some state governors voted themselves large pension payments and allowances, they failed to pay their former workers’ pensions and gratuities during their time in office.
He disclosed in a statement he signed and made available to newsmen that Nigeria can no longer afford to pay scandalous pensions to ex-governors while workers are owed arrears of meager pensions.
He said, “Many state governors voted themselves humongous pension payments and allowances. Many of the same governors actually chose not to pay the pensions and gratuities for their former workers whilst they were in office. Not less than 20 of them are in the Senate where they also receive jumbo salaries and allowances.
“Lagos was the first state to implement a pension law for its former governors. The Lagos State Pension for Ex-Governors was enacted in 2007. Since then, majority of States adopted the Lagos model. But the pension laws for Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States are the most scandalous.”
In the statement, Falana listed the details of the pension enjoyed by former governors of Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States.
According to Falana who is also the Chairman of the Alliance on Surviving Covid-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), the pension laws for Lagos, Akwa Ibom, and Rivers States are the “most scandalous.”
He pointed out that in the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) v Attorney-General of the Federation, (Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1497/2017 and Alhaji Garba Umar v Taraba State Government (Suit No: NICN/JOS/26/2016, the Federal High Court and the National Industrial Court declared as null and void the payment of pension and gratuity to former governors and deputy governors.
He added that “In 2022, the Lagos State Government announced the 50 percent reduction in the pension. Senators Daniel and Dankwambo have directed the Governments of Ogun and Gombe to stop paying them the pension since they are receiving salaries and allowances in the National Assembly.
“The Governments of Kwara, Imo and Zamfara States have abolished the payment of the pension. We call on other state Governments to abolish the pension as soon as possible. Nigeria can no longer afford to pay scandalous pension to ex-governors while workers are owed arrears of meagre pensions. Therefore, the pension laws applicable to other public officers should also apply to all ex-governors.”