Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa, on Monday, April 29, rejected the life pension bill recently passed by members of the state House of Assembly for themselves.
Legit.ng understands that Daniel Iworiso-Markson, the information commissioner in the state confirmed that the governor said he had conveyed his decision to decline assent to the bill in a letter to the speaker.
Leadership reports that the commissioner said the governor gave explanations concerning his action when he held consultations with the Assembly members in his country home of Toru-Orua.
The report said Iworiso-Markson quoted the governor as saying that the bill was inconsistent with section 124 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Governor Dickson argued that the Baylesa state House of Assembly lacked the powers to expand the categories of public servants who should be entitled to pension.
He added that the state currently faces a lot of challenges in spite of its low internally-generated revenue base and unstable earnings from oil.
He, therefore, wondered how Bayelsa would be the only state to pass the bill.
Dickson explained that in rejecting the bill, he is guided by a principle that government should not be for a select class of the privileged in the society.
“The provisions of this bill granting pension to members of Bayelsa state House of Assembly and the extension of same to former members of the Assembly and Bayelsa indigenes who served in the old Rivers state House of Assembly, is inconsistent with section 124 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
“I am not convinced about the legality of this Bill which seeks to expand the categories of persons entitled to pension. While I agree that the Assembly can adjust the quantum of pension payable to persons entitled to pension, I am not convinced that the House has powers to add to the categories of pensionable public officers,” he said.
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He governor added that he does not intend to abandon the principles which had guided his government so far.
“Rather, I intend to do more and to consolidate on the policies and actions which have been taken to protect the vulnerable. Therefore, I am unable to assent to this bill which in my view aims to expand and consolidate the class interest of a privileged few,” he said.
Legit.ng earlier reported that the Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Sunday, April 28, described the life pension bill as the height of politician’s inhuman acts against the people.
The TUC, in a statement personally signed by Bobboi Bala Kaigama, its president, and Musa-Lawal Ozidi, its secretary general, said the obnoxious bill which started with some states years ago, is expanding as it is being adopted by others.
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