SANWO-OLU’S MOVE TO REPEAL PENSION LAWS FOR FORMER GOVERNORS AND DEPUTIES A WELCOME DEVELOPMENT SAYS SERAP
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has described as a welcome development, the move by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to scrap the state’s law which placed all former governors and deputy governors of the state on life pensions. He told the House of Assembly while presenting his 2021 Appropriation Bill on Tuesday, November 10,2020 that he would soon send an executive bill to repeal the Public Office Holder (Payment of Pension Law 2007) that empowers the state government to pay pension of
N30m annually and provide other welfare benefits, including a house in Lagos or Abuja, vehicles and other accoutrements of comfort to former governors and similar pension to their deputies. The non-governmental organization, welcomed the development, noting that it is in accordance with the judgment by Justice Oguntoyinbo, federal high court judge, Lagos in SERAP vs. AGF (Attorney General of the Federation) suit, ordering the Nigerian Government to recover pensions collected by ex-governors and their deputies and to challenge the legality of pension laws in several states. SERAP said: “This is a welcome development, as it complies with the judgment by Justice Oguntoyinbo, Federal High Court, Lagos in SERAP v. AGF, ordering the Nigerian Government to recover pensions collected by ex-governors and their deputies and to challenge the legality of pension laws in several states”.
SERAP urges the AGF, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) to immediately fulfill his promise to enforce the judgment in suit number FHC/L/CS/1497/2017 to recover pensions already collected & challenge the legality of all life pension laws in several states across the country. Mr. Malami had in February 2020 asked SERAP to send the full list of former governors and ministers that have received and/or receiving double pay and life pensions in order to enhance and ensure compliance with the judgment of the court. Mr. Malami had said: “I am writing to inform SERAP to furnish me with the full list of the former governors and ministers which are affected by the judgment by Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, in order to enhance and ensure compliance with the ruling. Please, treat with utmost urgency”. However, despite SERAP sending the list, Mr. Malami has not taken steps to enforce the judgment. While sending the list to Mr. Malami, SERAP had said: “We welcome your request for the full list of former governors and ministers. Any further delay in the enforcement of the judgment will continue to undermine the authority and integrity of the Nigerian judiciary. Nigerians cannot wait for you to take legal action to scrap states’ pension laws and fully recover the public funds collected. Obedience to the judgment will be a victory for the rule, and provide an impetus for the government’s anti-corruption fight. “It will also be a rare piece of good news for the people of Nigeria as it will send a powerful message to former governors and ministers that have collected and/or collecting double pay that they will be held to account for their actions and mark the end of state-level impunity”.