Posted by Sunday Ojeme and Akeem Nafiu | 29 April 2019 | 559 times
Organised labour under the aegis of Trade Union Congress (TUC) has condemned moves by the Bayelsa State House of Assembly to place lawmakers on life pension as fraudulent. The congress vowed to resist the move, describing it as an outright betrayal.
The lawmakers had concluded plans to place members of the House of Assembly on life pension through a bill that would repeal the existing pensions for governor and deputy governor law of 2003 if passed.
The Congress, in a statement jointly signed yesterday by President and Secretary General of TUC, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama and Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozidi, respectively, said it was wrong for the lawmakers to come up with such a bill at a time the retirees who had served the country for 35 years were dying at verification centres. It said: “The TUC sees this development as an insult and a deliberate attempt to widen the scope of fraudulent activities by politicians in the state. “This is the peak of irresponsibility that cannot be allowed to persist whether the bill is given expedited passage on the floor of the house or not.
“Last week, we read in the dailies that Nigeria is owing almost N24 trillion. Also, if we go by the statement of the Federal Government recently, they may still borrow more. “It is ridiculous to borrow for recurrent expenditure. Who has bewitched our politicians that they hardly get anything right? How could they come up with such at a time the retirees who have served the country for 35 years are dying at verification centres? “Many of them cannot even afford drugs to take care of their age-related sicknesses. Yet politicians who served for just four years are placing themselves on life pension.
It is obvious there is no milk of kindness left in these people. TUC recalled that such obnoxious and self-centred bill started with some states years ago and, unfortunately, the number is increasing.
“We are calling on the Bayelsa state legislature and states nursing such idea to drop it as we shall not leave any stone unturned in our fight for good governance and accountability, forthwith. It is disgraceful that our country has become a laughing stock in the international community because of things like this.
“We must change the narrative,” the Congress noted.
The 24-member Assembly dominated by 22 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members had, on Wednesday, hurriedly passed the pension bill for current and past members. The Bill proposed a monthly pension of N100,000 for members while the Speaker and Deputy Speaker will be entitled to N500,000 and N200,000, respectively. Meanwhile, a rights organization, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has described the proposed life pension Bill by the leader of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Peter Akpe, as an abuse of legislative functions. It urged Governor Seriake Dickson not to sign it into law. In an open letter dated 26th April, 2019, to the governor, SERAP through its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the Bill amounts to incorrect and improper performance of public functions.
The organization said it was dismayed that rather than sponsoring bills that would improve access of children in Bayelsa to quality education, the lawmakers are taking advantage of their entrusted public positions to propose a Bill to collect large severance benefits. It further noted that by coming up with such Bill, the lawmakers of Bayelsa State House of Assembly have violated the constitutional and international prohibitions on conflicts of interest.
•Sourced from New Telegraph report
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