Three former governors – current ministers have said that they no longer receive pensions from their state governments.
The ministers are Babatunde Fashola (Power, Works and Housing); Chris Ngige (Labour and Employment) and Kayode Fayemi (Mines and Steel Development).
Fashola, a former governor of Lagos State, said he did not receive any pension from Lagos State. According to his Special Adviser on Communications, Hakeem Bello, the minister recently made it clear that he (Fashola) had no reason to ask the Lagos State Government to stop paying him a pension when from the outset he never accepted it.
When asked if he would also ask the Lagos State Government to stop paying him pension, just like the Senate President, Bukola Saraki did, Bello replied, “The minister spoke on Hard Copy, a programme on Channels TV on Friday. In that programme, he said you don’t ask them (Lagos State Government) to stop what you never accepted in the first place.
“This your question was one of the questions they asked him during that TV programme and what I told you was his response.” Ngige of Anambra also denied receiving double entitlements from the federal and state governments.
Ngige said that the petition by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in which he was mentioned only showed that proper investigation was not carried out before his inclusion as a beneficiary of double pay from the government or it was inspired by mischief.
Ngige denied drawing double emoluments from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government or the Anambra State Government since he was elected and appointed at various times into public offices contrary to media reports.
He said, “I wish to put it on record that since I left office in 2006 as governor of Anambra State; throughout the four years I spent in the 7th Senate (June 2011-2015) and currently as the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment with effect from November 11, 2015, I have never drawn a dime even in the intervening period that I was not in public office, as salary, emolument and pension from the Anambra State Government’s coffers.
“In fact, I have not received any severance benefit as prescribed in the Anambra State House of Assembly law on pensions and other welfare and benefits for former governors and deputy governors, 2006, and amended 2013. Aside the two utility vehicles were given to me some years ago, I have not accessed any of the privileges and other lawful trappings due to the office.
“It is worth stating for the avoidance of any doubt that the Supreme Court affirmed that I was entitled to these benefits in their landmark judgment in Mike Balonwu and others Vs Anambra State Government, which declared me governor, de facto and de jure between 2003 and 2006.”
Also, Ekiti’s Fayemi said he had not even received his severance package from the Ekiti State Government as approved by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission since leaving office in 2014. In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Yinka Oyebode, Fayemi, who is now Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said he had not received any pension.
Fayemi had challenged SERAP to apologise to him for including his name among former governors receiving double remuneration or face legal action.