SERAP, Others Blast National Assembly Over Move to Consider Life Pension for Key Members

SERAP, Others Blast National Assembly Over Move to Consider Life Pension for Key Members

  • Some civil society organisations have kicked against recommendations for life pension for presiding officers of the National Assembly
  • The CSOs described such recommendation as selfish and a possible strain on the cost of governance in Nigeria
  • ACcording to the CSOs, now is the time for citizens to call on lawmakers representing them at the National Assembly to put an end to the proposal

Key stakeholders in Nigeria's politics and governance ecosystem have condemned the move by the National Assembly to approve life pension for its presiding officers including the Senate president, the speaker of the House of Representatives and their deputies.

Punch reports that the National Assembly's joint special ad-hoc committee on the review of the 1999 constitution laid its report to both chambers on Wednesday, February 23.

Ahmad Lawan
Should the proposal for life pension scale through the present presiding officers will benefit from it Photo: Nigerian Senate
Source: UGC

The report by the committee contains 68 recommendations of which number 16 proposes a life pension for principal officers of the National Assembly.

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Recommendation 16 read:

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“That the House does receive the report of the Special Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution on a Bill for an Act to Alter the Provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 to Provide Pension for Presiding Officers of the National Assembly; and for Related Matters.”

Civil society organisations react

But in a reaction to the consideration by the lawmakers, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) urged Nigerians to take a step forward and ask their representative to kick against such a proposal.

The deputy director of SERAP, Kola Dare said the move by the lawmakers of the National Assembly in that regard is selfish.

Dare warned:

“The proposed amendment if that is true, cannot be said to be in the interest of Nigeria."

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He also noted that the organisation is already in court challenging the payment of life pensions to some governors and deputy governors in their states and that this cannot be springing up at a time like this.

Describing such as a waste of the country's resources, Dare noted the lawmakers are only planning to divert funds which could be used to improve the health or education sector for their selfish interest.

Also, the executive director of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Rafsanjani, described the proposal as outrageous.

Rafsanjani said should the proposal scale through, such payment would put a strain on Nigeria's already fragile economy.

He added:

“I think this is one of the most self-centred provisions for people who have been benefiting from the public fund to now permanently continue to burden Nigerians.
"This is at the expense of the deteriorating economy, lack of commensurate wages to hardworking Nigerians and also at the expense of social services Nigerians should be enjoying."

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An increase in the cost of governance

Also, reacting a senior lecturer of economics at the Pan Atlantic University, Dr Olalekan Aworinde, should the proposal scale through, the cost of governance in Nigeria will increase.

Aworinde condemning the lawmakers' decision said such is the highest level of nepotism, a situation whereby they will continue to enrich themselves to the detriment of the poor citizens.

His words:

“It would likely consume a huge amount of money and increase the cost of governance and an increase in the cost of governance will likely lead to deficit spending for the country. All of these are recurrent expenditures."

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