By Samuel Ogidan:
FORMER military heads of states, including Generals Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida and Abdusalam Abubakar, all retired, as well as the Head of the Interim
National Government (ING), Chief Ernest Shonekan, have been excluded from the new remuneration for former presidents.
Their exclusion was contained in a bill on remuneration for ex-presidents passed by the Senate yesterday.
Those who are to benefit from the remuneration include former Presidents, Vice-Presidents, Senate Presidents and their deputies, House of Representatives Speakers and their deputies, as well as the Chief Justices of the Federation.
Defending the exclusion of former military heads of states and the head of the ING, the Senate said that this would discourage people from getting into power through unconstitutional means.
According to the upper chamber, “the only way recognised by the world is through ballot box and not through the barrel of the gun”.
The Senate also disclosed that persons removed from power through impeachment would not benefit from the remuneration.
It lamented that the bill was one of many others passed by the last Senate and transmitted to former President Olusegun Obasnjo for assent.
Obasanjo could, however, not do so for some reasons before the expiration of his tenure.
The upper chamber noted that the thrust of the bill was essentially to amend Decree 32 of 1999 “and ensure that only democratically-elected former presidents are entitled to benefit from the entitlements and benefits enumerated in the schedule to the bill.”
The Senate further noted: “Persons who were removed from any of the offices referred to in this Act through the process of impeachment or were compelled to relinquish such offices for breach of any of the provisions of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria were not to benefit from the gesture of the bill.”
The amount to be paid, according to the lawmakers, “shall be recommended from time to time by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC) and approved by the National Assembly as up-keep allowance in addition to the pension entitlement under Section 84 (5) of the 1999 Constitution”.
The section says: “Any person who has held office as President or Vice-President shall be entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to the annual salary of the incumbent President or Vice-President.”
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