LAGOS STATE PENSION LAW, that granted former Governors of the State and their Deputies; and other political office holders, extravagantly padded pension perks, has been reviewed by Lagos State House of Assembly. The lawmakers slashed the pension perks by 50 percent.
The House Committee on Establishment, Training and Pension, chaired by Yinka Ogundimu, during plenary, said the committee reduced the benefits and other emoluments by 50 percent, due to the present economic situations of the State. And the review would impact positively on the economy of the state.
The committee’s recommendations, also, expunged the provision of houses in Abuja and Lagos for the former governors, as stipulated in the earlier law. It further recommended the reduction in number of vehicles to be made available to former governors and their deputies.
THE EARLIER LAW, “The Lagos State Governor and Deputy Governor Pensions Law of 2007”, benefited ex-governors Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola, Akinwumi Ambode, and their deputies. In the earlier law, a “former governor is entitled to six new cars every three years and a house in Lagos and another in Abuja”
According to reports, the law stated that: “Conservatively, a house in Lagos will cost N750 million and one in Abuja N1 billion. The former governor and family (spouse and children ─ both married and unmarried) are entitled to free medical which is not capped.
“Another highlight is that the ex-governor is entitled to a cook, steward, gardener, and other domestic staff, who are pensionable. Other benefits are the annual basic salary: 100 per cent of annual basic salaries of the incumbent governor and deputy.
“Transport: Three cars, two back-up cars and one pilot car for the ex-governor every three years; two cars, two back-up cars and one pilot car for the deputy, every three years.
“They are also entitled to 300 per cent of annual basic salary every two years. House maintenance: While 10 per cent of annual basic salary for domestic staff: Cook, steward, gardener, and other domestic staff (no limit) who shall be pensionable.
“They are also entitled to free medical treatment for ex-governor and deputy and members of their families (not just spouses).
“Security: Two SSS operatives, one female officer, eight policemen (four each for house and personal security) for the ex-governor; one SSS operative and two policemen (one each for house and personal security) for the deputy.”
MUDASHIRU OBASA, Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, suggested that the former governors be given two vehicles – a car and a van – instead of three recommended by the committee. The amended law, Obasa said, should provide that the cars be changed every four years instead of three years recommended by the committee in its report.
The report recommended the removal of houses and reduction in other benefits. Obasa said the reductions should be left at 50 percent. He said it was necessary to secure the lives of the former office holders; recalling the murder of the President of Haiti.
Obasa said: “By virtue of my office, I have seen former speakers who we just had to intervene in their lives because of the situations they found themselves outside office. We have also seen former governors in very bad situations.
“However, we must realise that this is democracy, and it is all about the people. We are here because of the people. When we represent people, it is good for us to listen to them as well.
“We must realise that we will always go back to the people for support. So, when we hearken to their agitations and reduce what existed, it shows that we listen”, Obasa added.
On May 25, the bill moved to the second reading, seeking to repeal the law which grants pension and other emoluments to former governors and deputies in the State. Some lawmakers had argued that it would not be good to repeal the entire law. They believe there were some important sections and provisions of the law that should be considered.
Source: Correspondent/Agency Report