*Saraki, Amaechi top list of beneficiaries
By; JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
Research conducted by a non-governmental organisation called Hope Alive has revealed that 21 serving Senators and public servants are presently receiving salaries from their states as former governors and deputy governors as pension and at the same time collecting salaries and allowances as members of National Assembly to the tune of well over N10 billion.
This development according to this research was due to faulty pension laws by their respective states governments where these individuals come from which failed to envisage that these former governors and deputy governors could be re-engaged to serve as ministers or lawmakers among others.
The 21 renowned individuals captured in the research include Dr Bukola Saraki (Kwara), Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Kabiru Gaya (Kano), Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Theodore Orji (Abia) Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa), Sam Egwu (Ebonyi), Shaaba Lafiagi (Kwara) Joshua Dariye (Plateau), Ahmed Sani Yarima (Zamfara), Danjuma Goje (Gombe) and Jonah Hang (Plateau)
Others are Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Yobe), Adamu Aliero (Kebbi), George Akume (Benue), Ms Biodun Olujimi (Ekiti), Chris Ngige (Anambra), Babatunde Fashola (Lagos), Enyinaya Harcourt Abaribe (Abia), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti) and Chris Ngige (Anambra).
Addressing the participants at a one-day workshop on salaries and emoluments of NASS members organised by African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre-LSD) in Kaduna on Thursday, Executive Director, Hope Alive, Ambassador Chibuzo Okereke expressed worries over the development.
According to him, this unfair provision of such laws as existing in all Nigerian states without adequate provisions for where the money should be sourced to pay these incentives, is milking the country dry.
“Available records show that about N40 billion has so far been spent on these double salaries with many allowances not captured.
“For example, Lagos and Zamfara states shared similar laws without considering their incomes.
“Governor and deputy governor law of 2007 provides life salary of 100 per cent of the salary of the incumbent for the former governors who were not impeached, two houses worth not less than N300 million each, another house in Abuja for those who served complete two terms.
“300 per cent as furniture allowances for every two years, house and vehicles maintenance 10 per cent and 30 per cent respectively, utility bills at 20 per cent, annual pension at N30 million, entertainment 10 per cent, six and four domestic staff paid by government.
“All round medical coverage for them and families, security and six vehicles of not less than N20 million replaceable every three years and utility cars at N5 million”, he revealed.
Talking about the way forward, Programme Director, Centre-LSD, Victoria Ose Udoh said, the law should be amended especially now that the country is leaning on meagre resources that is making it difficult for several states to meet up even with payment of salaries.
“Over time, many consider this as wickedness for only a fragment of Nigerian populace to be sharing higher per cent of commonwealth why several millions live in abject poverty and over 10 million children out of school due to poverty and poor education system.
“Our reproductive age women and children are dying due to pregnancy related complications while unemployment is on the increase with infrastructure deficit of $3 trillion according to World Bank records.
“It is now clear that almost all governors serving their second term in office want to go to the Senate for political asylum or as resting haven for political relevance without necessarily bringing their expertise to the floor to help the country move forward as their colleagues in other climes do”, she added.
However, both speakers were quick to clarify that, it was not only those in the Senate that were guilty of the faulty pension laws, but they believed they can effect laws that will address the issue of double salaries and pension by those it may concern in order to save the country against total collapse.