The Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) has frowned at the decision of the Lagos State Government to reduce the pension of former Governors by 50 percent, demanding its abolishment.
According to the anti-corruption rights group, the reduction by 50 percent is deceitful and a breach of the earlier public commitment of the original Bill submitted to the State House of Assembly by Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to entirely abolish the privilege.
Sanwo-Olu had earlier said the state was going to stop the “reckless and insensitive package.”
The Chairman, HEDA Resource Centre, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, in a statement made available to Persecondnews over the weekend, said the slash falls short of the remarkable revocation of similar laws by Kwara and Zamfara States.
Suraju asked that the Lagos State Governor immediately withhold his assent to the Bill by the Assembly proposing less than 50 percent reduction of pensions to former governors of Lagos.
Persecondnews recalls that the Lagos State House of Assembly announced on Thursday that former governors would now receive half of what the state used to give them as pension after leaving office.
Part of the pension benefits include but not restricted to cash in millions of naira, fleet of cars to be changed in every three years and houses to be built for them all at public expense.
The statement reads: “We are shocked by the hypocritical and selfish decision of the State House of Assembly to reduce the package for the former State Governors, rather than approving the proposal as sent by the State’s Executive.
“The truth of the matter is that, having served the state for between four to eight years, with their salaries and emoluments paid apart from a string of perks and privileges including unquestionable security votes, it is ridiculous that the public will continue to shoulder their personal needs after they have left the office.”
According to the HEDA Chairman, the former governors are not career workers like civil servants who often put in up to 35 years into public service, adding that the 50 percent slash fails to address the fundamental issue which is that the former governors do not deserve to live on public funds after they have left.
“The decision of the Lagos State House of Assembly is unilateral and even amounts to crying more than the bereaved. There were no consultations with the public. The elected members did not hold any discussion with the electorate.
“There was a kangaroo public hearing on the floor of the house. This is not a popular decision but a step taken to please their political godfathers” Suraju said.
He argued that payment to former governors is a decision that has to be taken in consultation with the tax payers and not an imposition by 40 members of the State House of Assembly.