— Says Proposed Legislation Quite Obnoxious Or Burdensome
The National Leadership of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) ably led by Mr. Olumide Akpata has described as obnoxious and burdensome, the proposed legislation at the Enugu State House of Assembly seeking to provide life pension for former Governors and their Deputies of the state.
In a circular made available to ASKLEGALPALACE, but issued by the First National Vice President, Mr. J. O. AIKPOKPO-MARTINS, ESQ to the respective NBA Branch Chairpersons of Enugu State, and dated the 15th day of March 2021; the first national Vice President noted that Enugu State seems to be acting in retrospect, given that whilst other states were abrogating such pieces of legislation, in contrast to Enugu State.
‘It is pertinent to note that whilst many states are repealing such oppressive laws in deference to the wishes of the people and the realities of the times, the Government of Enugu State is rather seeking to entrench and foist such obnoxious and burdensome law on the peace-loving people of Enugu State.’ the statement reads in part.
The strongly worded letter also instructed the branch chairpersons in Enugu State, to extensively monitor the process of the passage of the bill, and also institute an action in court to challenge the legislation [where necessary], and accordingly report back to the national leaders of all necessary process. The said team of various chairpersons of the NBA in the state would be led by the Chairperson for Enugu State
‘You are hereby further put on notice that in consonance with this administration’s commitment to defend matters of importance relating to the interest of the public in accordance with the promotion of the rule of law, that you will put in place an action plan to challenge the law in court should our advocacy to have same defeated in the House of Assembly fails. The Chairman of Enugu Branch is hereby appointed to coordinate the Chairmen in this intervention, and update my office regularly on this very crucial issue”.
The NBA Leadership restated its commitments to the ‘promotion and protection of the principles of the rule of law and respect for the enforcement of fundamental rights, human rights, and people’s rights’, in line with sections 3 & 5[b] [iii] of the NBA Constitution.
‘We hereby reiterate that the NBA is very much interested in the said bill, and the enactment process which is ongoing at the Enugu State House of Assembly, in consonance with the avowed commitment of this administration to cogently drive the aims and objects of th.Constitution of the Association, and with particular regards to giving impetus to Section 3(11) thereof, which provides for the “promotion and protection of the principles of the rule of law and respect for the enforcement of fundamental rights, human rights, and people’s rights.”
‘In furtherance of S.5(b)iii of the NBA Constitution, you are hereby directed as a matter of utmost importance to commence the monitoring of the said process in the House of Assembly, Enugu State with the mandate to vehemently oppose, strongly and advocate for the non-passage of the executive bill at the Assembly’.
Recall that the bill sponsored by the Majority Leader, Ikechukwu Ezeugwu, scaled first reading on March 9 at the assembly. The bill is aimed at proposed life pension and gratuity for the former governors as well as N12 million medical allowances for their wives for life. Also included in the entitlements for the ex-governors are provision of three new vehicles each every four years and a state burial and one year salary for the family after death.
Further Recall that on the 16th of March, 2021, the Enugu house of assembly had stepped down the life pension bill granting more benefits to former governors of the state, following public outcry on how it would cost the state billions of naira. The provision covers almost any possible major expenses an ex-governor can incur in his/her life, including 900 percent of a governor’s
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