A federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State has ordered the federal government to recover pensions paid to former governors serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly.
Affected persons include former Senate president and governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki, minister of Transport and former governor of Rivers State, Chibuike Amaechi, minister of Niger Delta and former AkwaIbom State governor, Godswill Akpabio, minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, among others.
The court also directed the attorney general of the federation and minister of justice, Mr Abubakar Malami , SAN to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.
At least22 states have passed life pensions’ laws for former governors and other ex-public officials including Lagos, Akwa Ibom, Edo, Delta, Kano, Gombe, Yobe, Borno, Osun, Kwara, Ondo, Ebonyi, Rivers, Niger, Kogi, and Katsina states.
The judgment was in response to a suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP.
The presiding judge, Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo delivered the judgment following an application for an order of mandamus in suit number FHC/L/CS/1497/2017 brought by SERAP.
Meanwhile, former Zamfara State governor, Abdulaziz Yari, has asked Bello Matawalle, his successor, to pay his outstanding allowance and pension.
In a letter dated October 17 addressed to the governor, Yari said he is entitled to N10 million monthly as upkeep allowance, but that he has only been paid twice since he left office.
Yari said the law which provides for the entitlement of former governors, deputies, speakers and deputy speakers was amended in March and that it should not be truncated.
Commenting on the pension refund demand, a public analyst commended the judge.
“This is a good development but how will the federal government be able to retrieve the money? It is a brilliant idea that will stabilize morality. People should not live off the masses’ wealth. Government should seize their houses and fat accounts and let them prove the source of their wealth.
On Senator Orji UzorKalu, former governor of Abia State slammed a 12-year jail term over a N7.1billion fraud, Mr Ken Ogom Utulu said that should sound a warning to those who ran into APC to avoid persecution.
“ Akpabio take note. There is always a boomerang. The message is fora public office holder to show responsibility”, stated.