Written by Ibrahim Kabiru Sule, Sunday Michael Ogwu, John Chuks Azu (Abuja), Habibu Umar Aminu (Katsina), Misbahu Bashir & Christiana T. Alabi (Kaduna), Abdullahi Anako (Dutse), Femi Akinola, (Lagos) & Victor Edozie (P/Harcourt)
Twenty governors and their deputies who are leaving office on May 29 will cost their states billions of naira in entitlements, Daily Trust reports.
Their total severance allowances as approved by Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) come up to a total of N4.68 billion.
The revenue commission is the central body responsible for fixing salaries and allowances for political, public and judicial office holders in the country.
The commission has approved payment of 300% basic salary as severance allowances for political office holders on leaving office.
However, various state assemblies had approved a wide range of entitlements for governors that will enable them live in comfort for life at the expense of tax payers.
The outgoing governors are Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Ibrahim Shema (Katsina) Ramalan Yero (Kaduna), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Babangida Aliyu (Niger), Saidu Dakingari (Kebbi), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Bala Nggilari (Adamawa), Danbaba Suntai (Taraba), Gabriel Suswam (Benue), Jonah Jang (Plateau), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Martins Elechi (Ebonyi), Sullivan Chime (Enugu), Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta), Theodore Orji (Abia), and Liyel Imoke (Cross River).
These include 100% current pay for life, one or two mansions built and furnished by the state, free medical service, fully paid annual vacation, cars and numerous aides.
In few instances outgoing governors even have paid themselves hundreds of millions of naira weeks before vacating office.
However, this development has drawn sharp criticism from labour and top lawyers.
They described the action as immoral, insensitive and irresponsible at a time when workers, teachers and pensioners have not been paid for months.
Katsina state governor Ibrahim Shema, his deputy Garba Faskari and their aides are set to enjoy a N1.1 billion severance allowances and gratuities.
Already the said amount has been provided in this year’s approved budget of 110 billion as one percent of the total budget.
Already according to documents presented to the All Progressive Congress transition committee by the state Accountant General during their interface, Governor Shema and his Deputy Garba Faskari had received N370 million and N217 million naira respectively as severance gratuity.
In Kaduna state, severance packages are being prepared for outgoing elected officials, Governor Mukhtar Ramalan Yero’s Director General Media and Publicity, Ahmed Maiyaki has said
But he declined to state the amount each beneficiary will receive.
The House approved one personal assistant instead of two for the governor, two new cars including a jeep and a saloon car to be provided once; one driver as against the two proposed and four bedroom duplex well furnished with not more than three parlours within the state instead of the six bedroom proposed by the Executive.
Also 10% of the incumbent’s basic annual salary was recommended as utility allowance per annum instead of the 30% proposed by the Executive.
For the deputy governor, the committee recommended one personal assistant, one insured brand new jeep, one driver, medical treatment in any government hospital within the country with his/her three family members, four bedroom duplex with two well furnished parlour and 10% of incumbent’s basic annual salary as utility allowance per annum.
The Speaker of the Jigawa State House of Assembly, Ahmed Sarawa yesterday said they decided to give jumbo pension packages to Jigawa state governor, his deputy, speaker and deputy speaker in order to make them comfortable after the expiration their tenure.
Sarawa who spoke to journalists in Dutse said a man who had served his people in the capacity of governor should not go home poor.
The assembly had approved that a governor who successfully completed his terms without impeachment should be entitled to a monthly pension equivalent to the current salary of the current governor, two brand new vehicles to be provided by the state government and to be replaced after every four year, six bedroom house fully furnished, two personal assistants not below grade level 10, two drivers selected by the governor and be paid by the state, a fully furnished office in any location of choice of the governor and fully paid medical treatment within Nigeria and abroad.
The Deputy Governor is also to get a monthly pension equivalent to the incumbent’s salary, one assistant not below level eight, one brand new vehicle, four bedrooms flat, an office in a location of his choice.
Lagos Pension Law, approved by former governor Bola Ahmed Tinubu in 2007 provides for a multi-million naira severance payment after service.
In addition the governor will enjoy the following benefits for life: Two houses, one in Lagos and another in Abuja. (Property experts noted that a house in Lagos will cost N500 million and Abuja N700 million.)
Others are six brand new cars replaceable every three years; furniture allowance of 300% of annual salary to be paid every two years.
The governor will receive close to N2.5 million as pension close to N30 million pension annually.
He will also enjoy security detail, free medicals including his immediate families.
Other benefits are 10% House maintenance, 30% Car maintenance, 10% entertainment, 20% utility, and several domestic staff.
100% of annual basic salaries for 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.
Furniture: 300% of annual basic salary every four years en bloc. House maintenance: 10% of annual basic salary.
PA: 25% of annual basic salary.
Car maintenance: 30% of annual basic salary.
Entertainment: 10% of annual basic salary.
Utility: 20% of annual basic salary.
Drivers: Non-pensionable (no limit to number of drivers).
Severance gratuity: Not specified.
N200 million annual pay to ex governors, deputies
Salary: 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.
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.
A five-bedroom mansion in Abuja and Akwa Ibom and allowance of 300 percent of annual basic salary for the deputy governor.
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.
Free medical treatment for the former governor and his immediate families within and outside Nigeria where necessary; same for deputy.
Two drivers for former governor and a driver for his deputy; 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.
N300 million executive pension benefits
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 per cent of salary for car maintenance, 20 per cent for utility, 10 per cent for entertainment, 10 per cent for house maintenance.
Lawyers react to jumbo packages
Amaechi Nwaiwu (SAN) said such pensions policies were legal. He however questioned the morality and responsibility of the purveyors of the pension for retiring political office holders when some states are not viable.
“If it is jumbo pay when the state is battling to pay teachers and workers, then it is intolerable even if it is supportable in law,” he said.
While calling for concerted action by Nigerians against the enactments, former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Daudu (SAN) also questioned the morality of the proposal, insisting that nobody should take pension after working for four years.
“I think it is wrong because by the time the executive and legislature takes away those kinds of money there would be no money for the states to run basic activities. It is not something to report and keep quiet about; it is something that people have to meet and take concerted actions about,” he said.
State governors pension are legal- RMAFC
The Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) said the pensions paid by some state government and the severance packages paid to president, governors and political appointees are legal.
The spokesperson for the Commission, Ibrahim Mohammed said: “State government have their laws, we don’t enact laws for them, our mandate is provided for in our enabling art. Whatever they do within the confines of the law, we cannot say it is illegal.”
He said the severance package for president, Governors and ministers was a one-off payment anchored on the premise that they were leaving service and supposed to be given some level of comfort to enable them adjust.
This amount for the president accumulates to a total of N10.5 million; the Vice President N9.1 million while Senators, Ministers, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), head of Service and chairmen of constitutional bodies and members of the house of representatives will get N6 million each.
At the state level, Governors will get about N6.7 million while local government Chairmen will get around N2.7 million each across the federation
Some of the nation’s 36 state Houses of Assembly have enacted generous pension entitlements for governors that in many cases provide 100 per cent pay for the incumbent governors’ buildings, generous medical allowances for them and their family members and annual holiday provisions, all of which are to last for life. Provisions in the pension allowances are also made for staff, security and vehicles that are renewable every three or four years.
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