THERE has been a public outcry against an executive bill before the Enugu State House of Assembly seeking life pension for ex-governors and their deputies.
Last Tuesday, the bill passed First Reading and there were indications the House might pass it into law as all the lawmakers were elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Two non-governmental organisations, Daniel Ukwu Leadership Foundation and Save Enugu Initiative, in separate statements on Sunday, described the bill as anti-people.
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of DULF, Mr Daniel Ukwu, asked the lawmakers to stop the process of deliberating on it.
Ukwu said there were many pressing needs in the state, including payment of the minimum wage to staff of parastatals, primary school teachers, as well as local government workers, and wondered why anybody would come up with such a bill at this time.
The statement partly read, “The bill is not necessary. It should be thrown into the dustbin. People are dying of hunger whereas the bill is talking about life pension. This is not the time to talk about a bill trying to pamper governors and their deputies. The bill is very unnecessary and it is anti-human.”
Save Enugu Initiative said that the state would spend N1.153bn yearly on the proposed pensions and N1.250bn on vehicles every four years.
The group, in a statement signed by one Prof. Edeogu Nweze, stated, “Governors take home basic salary of N2.22m a month. This gives you N26,640,000 per year.
“Based on the bill, an ex-governor will be entitled to the following every year: Pension = N26,640,000; house maintenance allowance = 200% of annual basic salary. N26,640,00 x 2 =N53,280,000; vehicle maintenance allowance = 200% of annual basic salary, N26,640,00 x 2 =N53,280,000; medical allowance not exceeding N12,000,000; free medical care for him and his wife; adequate security. Let’s say N5,000,000; salaries of three staff @N100,000 each = 100,000 x 3 = N300,000 X 12 = N3,600,000. Total = N153,800,000. Then three vehicles every four years; let’s say each vehicle will cost N50,000,000 = N50,000,000 x 3 = N150,000,000.”
The group noted that there would soon be five ex-governors in Enugu: Jim Nwobodo, Okwy Nwodo, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, Sullivan Chime, and Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
“So, in a year, the state would spend 5 X N153,800,000 = N769,000,000 on five former governors alone. N384,500,000 on the former deputies. That is: N769 000 000 + N384 500 000 = N1,153,500,000 every year.”
Our correspondent reports that Enugu State paid last gratuities of civil servants in 2009 and partly 2010. The primary school teachers and local government retirees were paid last in 2005.
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