Enforce Judgment Stopping Pensions To Ex-Govs, SERAP Tells Tinubu

By Adadareporters

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has charged President Bola Tinubu to implement a judgment of a Federal High Court in Lagos which declared payment of pensions to former governors as unlawful.

SERAP further called on Tinubu to put modalities in place to recover pensions already collected by former governors and to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting those involved to collect such outrageous pensions.

It made the call in an open letter dated March 23, 2024, addressed to President Tinubu and signed by SERAP’s deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare.

SERAP tasked Tinubu to emulate Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, who recently signed into law a bill banning the Abia State Governors and Deputy Governors Pensions Law No 4 of 2001, by urgently obeying the judgment, delivered by Honourable Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, on November 26, 2019.

SERAP said unless the judgment was immediately obeyed, former governors and their deputies, including those now serving as ministers in the current administration and members of the National Assembly who receive pensions, would continue to evade justice for their actions.

The organisation supported former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s conclusion that states’ pension laws are ‘acts of daylight robbery’ and his call for such laws to be abolished by other state governors.

SERAP stated, “Nigeria’s democracy needs courts so that public officials and private actors, including former governors and their deputies collecting life pensions, exotic cars and other allowances from their states, can be held accountable for any infraction of Nigerian laws.

“Mr Buhari turned a blind eye to the judgment. State governors have failed to provide names of former governors and their deputies who have collected and continue to collect pensions from their states and the amount so far spent on these ex-officials.

“Constitutionalism and the rule of law are not in conflict with democracy; rather, they are essential to it. Justice Oguntoyinbo’s judgment has pointed the way for your government to provide the leadership to ensure the reform of pension laws allowing former governors and their deputies to collect lifetime salaries and allowances. It is now time for your government to restore the rule of law systemically.

“Like pension laws of several states, the repealed Abia state pension law stipulated that former Abia governors and deputies are entitled to 100 per cent of the annual basic salaries of the incumbent governor and deputy; their cooks, stewards, drivers, and gardeners are to be paid by the state; and are entitled to three police officers and two operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).

“Justice Oguntoyinbo in her judgment granted ‘an order of mandamus compelling and directing the Attorney General to urgently identify former governors and their deputies collecting pensions from their states and to seek full recovery of public funds from those involved.

“Justice Oguntoyinbo also granted ‘an order of mandamus compelling and directing the Attorney General to urgently institute appropriate legal actions to challenge the legality of states’ laws permitting former governors, serving as senators and ministers to enjoy governors’ emoluments while drawing normal salaries and allowances in their new political offices.

“Justice Oguntoyinbo also indicated that double emoluments for former governors are unacceptable, unconstitutional and illegal.”

Adadainfo Adadareporters.com is an online newspaper reporting Nigerian news. Email: adadainfo1@gmail.com Phone: 08071790941

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