How former governors are making millions as senators
Some former governors now serving as senators are still receiving pension from their states – Senator Saraki says his pension goes to a trust fund for scholarship – There are currently 21 senators receiving pensions as former governors While Nigeria is groaning under the weight of the fall of Naira and the fluctuating price of crude oil which is making life difficult, government officials especially senators who once served as governors are fattening due to the double income they receive.
A report by Daily Trust revealed that in spite of the fact that states had to receive bailout funds from the federal government due to their inability to pay salaries, millions of Naira in pension is transferred to the account of former governors. Incidentally, some of these governors are simultaneously receiving salaries as senators. 21 former governors and former deputy governors are currently serving as Senators in President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet and they are all receiving pensions and salaries.
The senators who once served as governors are Bukola Saraki of Kwara, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano, Kabiru Gaya of Kano, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Theodore Orji of Abia, Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa, Sam Egwu of Ebonyi, Shaaba Lafiagi of Kwara, Joshua Dariye of Plateau Jonah Jang of Plateau, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Ahmed Sani Yarima of Zamfara, Danjuma Goje of Gombe, Bukar Abba Ibrahim of Yobe, Adamu Aliero of Kebbi, George Akume of Benue and Isiaka Adeleke of Osun. Former deputy governors in the Senate are Ms Biodun Olujimi of Ekiti and Enyinaya Harcourt Abaribe of Abia. Danladi Abubakar Sani served as the acting governor of Taraba state.
Bukola Saraki is receiving double income; pension as a former governor and salary as a senator Some former governors who are now ministers are also receiving double income. They include Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers, Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, Chris Ngige of Anambra and Babatunde Fashola of Lagos. In Akwa Ibom, the state pension law stipulates that the former governor and deputy governor receive pension for life which is equivalent to what the salaries of the incumbent governor and his deputy. The package also includes a new official car and a utility vehicle every four years; one personal aide; a cook, chauffeurs and security guards for the governor at a sum not exceeding N5 million per month and N2.5 million for his deputy governor.
The law in Rivers provides 100 percent of annual basic salaries for ex-governor and deputy, one residential house for former governor “anywhere of his choice in Nigeria”; one residential house anywhere in Rivers for the deputy, three cars for the ex-governor every four years and two cars for the deputy every four years. In Lagos, a former governor will get two houses, one in Lagos and another in Abuja estimated at N500 million in Lagos and N700 million in Abuja. Babatunde Fashola served as Lagos state governor and is now a minister. This provides him with double income He also receives six new cars to be replaced every three years; furniture allowance of 300 percent of annual salary to be paid every two years, and N30 million pension annually for life.
The law in Kwara allows Sarki to get two cars and a security car to be replaced every three years, a “well-furnished 5-bedroom duplex,” furniture allowance of 300 per cent of his salary; five personal staff and three SSS. Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu who is the media aide to Saraki confirmed that the governor receives all the benefit but said the money goes to scholarship to students of Kwara. He said the Senate president “directed that a special account should be opened into which the money should be paid and that it should be used for a scholarship and education programme to be administered by a Board of Trustees.”
Dariye said he was receiving more than 600,000 as monthly pension and that this should not stop the state from paying salaries. He complained he has not been paid his severance benefit. “They are paying me N600, 000 plus but they have not paid me my severance benefit. What do you mean? Those people that retired in the army and are now senators, are they not collecting their pensions? “Even retired civil servants that are senators are being paid their pensions. This is pension and not salary. We all know that it is illegal to collect two salaries at a time.” A senior lawyer, Sebastine Hon said although the Senators have not breached any law, he said it was morally condemnable to be getting pension while they are still in active service. “While this is morally condemnable, the ex-governors have breached no law. We are operating a federal system of government; and it is no secret that past presidents are also entitled to and are indeed benefiting from life ex cathedra benefits. Since former presidents are scooping these benefits, what stops ex-governors from also enjoying same?”