Akpabio, deputy don hammer!: NLC expresses shock as Akwa Ibom lawmakers okay multimillion naira pensions, medical allowances, etc

Posted by News Express | 27 May 2014 | 4,022 times

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Akwa Ibom Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, and his deputy, Her Honour, Lady Valerie Ebe, will have no material worries for life when they quit office on May 29 next year. Reason: The State House of Assembly yesterday passed a bill designed to guarantee luxury for life for the state’s former governors, deputy governors and their wives.

The bill was passed despite attempts by labour to frustrate it. The state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has expressed shock over the development.

The new law guarantees pension for life at the rate equivalent to the annual basic salary of the incumbent governor and his deputy. Other provisions are:

•A new official car and a utility vehicle once in every four years, a personal aide and provision of adequate security for his person during his lifetime at the expense of the state.

•A yearly take-home of not less than N200 million for the governor, a sum not exceeding N100 million for medical services for the ex-governors and their deputies.

•Provision of a befitting house not below a 5-bedroom maisonette in either the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, or Akwa Ibom State for the governor and a yearly accommodation allowance of 500 per cent of annual basic salary for the deputy governor

•A medical allowance not exceeding N12 million per annum for one surviving spouse of a former governor, provided that such a spouse was married to the governor at the time he or she was in office.

Akwa Ibom State NLC Chairman Unyime Usoroh described the law as not only shocking but also disgusting, demonstrating the level of greed and insensitivity of Nigeria’s leaders. He said:

“We mobilised our members for protest to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly because we are imagining what the passage of this bill might do to the state’s economy.

“Since 2007, pensions for public servants in Akwa Ibom State have not been harmonised in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic.

“Since that time even with the minimum wage that has just been implemented, the Akwa Ibom State Government has not seen the need to bring the pension allowances of these people who worked for 35 years to be in line with the Constitution.

“But the government has seen the need to hurriedly put in a bill for the governor, who is not in any way financially challenged.

“I am shocked at this level of greed and insensitivity by our leader. I don’t know why he (Speaker) should exhibit this kind of insecurity. For me, it is a kind of phobia.

“If someone has the kind of things he has and then he still believes that anything can happen tomorrow, and so thinks of securing himself against any form of eventuality; what kind of eventuality will make him to do this kind of a thing? I think it is unfortunate.”

Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Sam Ikon, who successfully stalled the attempt by labour to block it, however, defended the new law. He said that the lawmakers were not influenced in anyway, but were only seeking ways to motivate the governors and their deputies to stay focused and not loath public funds, bearing in mind that a provision has been made for them to still access a comfortable life after many years of selfless service.

“The essence is to encourage them to face their jobs and knowing that even if they cannot build a house of their own, the state has already made a law to provide a house for them. And so they wouldn’t be bothered about accumulating personal wealth,” he stated.

•Photo shows Governor Akpabio and his deputy, Her Honour, Lady Valerie Ebe.

Source: News Express

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