Protest greets Governor’s Life pension Bill at Enugu Assembly

The bill seeking a law to grant life pension for Governors and Deputy Governors of Enugu state has received several knocks by groups and individuals in the state

In its total rejection of the bill, a South East socio political group, the Save Enugu Group (SEG) at the weekend issued a 21-day ultimatum to Enugu State House of Assembly to kill a bill seeking for a law to provide life pension for former governors and deputy governors of Enugu State.

National coordinator of SEG, Chief Willy Ezugwu, said in a statement issued at the weekend that the bill which has passed its first reading must be killed immediately by the state lawmakers for the peace and tranquility in the state’s political arena to be sustained.

SEG in the statement revealed that it has started mobilising “conscious citizens, civil society groups and labour unions in the state to shut down Enugu State House of Assembly for as long as it will take to kill this most insensitive bill.

According to the group, “it will be a betrayal of the trust the ordinary people of Enugu bestowed in their representatives serving as lawmakers to pass such outdated bill.

“It is shocking that while a state like Lagos, with high internally generated revenue (IGR) that runs into billions of naira monthly, has abolished pensions for former governors, the Enugu State House of Assembly allowed such a bill to pass first reading when such a law will deplete the meagre Enugu State revenue to the tune of over N2 billion annually.

“It’s more disheartening to discover that the proposed law is an executive bill. More worrisome is the provision in the bill for medical allowance not exceeding N12 million per annum for one surviving spouse of a former Governor, “provided that such spouse was married to the governor while in office

“What is more unfortunate in the bill is the provision seeking to mandate the state government to provide three vehicles for ex-governors and replace them every four years. Also very insulting to the sensibilities of the suffering masses is the provisions that when a former governor or former deputy governor dies, the state government should make “adequate arrangement and bear the financial responsibility” for his/her burial; “And that the state government should pay “a condolence allowance of a sum equivalent to the annual basic salary of the incumbent” Governor or Deputy Governor to his next of kin,” SEG regretted in the statement

“This is a country where people that served their states as civil servants for over 30 years are struggling to get their terminal benefits

“To pass such a bill into law, the State Assembly must include a provision for all retired state civil servants to receive exactly same retirement benefits as the Governor and the deputy, including the exact condolence allowance to the next of kins of all retired civil servants in Enugu State”, the group demanded.

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