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Constitution Review: Lawmakers Disagree over Life Pension for Presiding Officers

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Senate-FloorSome lawmakers on Saturday proposed life pension for presiding officers of the National Assembly after their tenure in office.

They made the proposal at a-two day retreat on Constitution Review organised by the Senate Ad hoc Committee on Constitution Review in Lagos.

According to them, presiding officers, who should enjoy life pension are President of Senate, Deputy President of Senate, Speaker, House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu spoke in favour of the proposal, saying that principal officers of the two chambers should be entitled to life pension after their tenure.

Ekweremadu, who is the Chairman of the Committee stressed that it was necessary for the presiding officers to enjoy such benefits.

“This has nothing to do with an individual. It is about the institution. Let us not politicise it. Nobody elected the Chief Justice of Nigeria, but he enjoys pension.

But if we cheapen our own institution, so be it. Let us not make this a personal thing,” he said.

Senator Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) said there was no reason why legislators should not enjoy such benefit when other arms of government enjoyed it

“The executive enjoy it. Let us stand by our leaders. They should enjoy this benefit. They act on behalf of us. They are equal to the executive and judiciary and should therefore, enjoy the same benefit,” she said.

Senator Ahmed Yerima (APC-Zamfara), who also spoke in favour of the suggestion, said “after being elected by all the lawmakers and their constituencies, lawmakers should enjoy pension. Governors, who spend just four years enjoy it, so presiding officers should enjoy it too.”

However, the Leader of the Senate, Ali Ndume, spoke against the proposal.

“The case of the state governors and their deputies is different. They were elected by the public. But we elect our principal officers. To me, I believe that the benefit of the office of the senate president and other principal officers is too much.

They are just one among equals. I am against any excessive privileges given to the senate president or the speaker. All of us were elected. If we are doing anything, it should be for all members of the National Assembly,” he said.

Also, the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio spoke against the suggestion.

“The governor of a state and the president cannot stay in office for more than two terms. But for a senator, he can stay in office for 35 years,” Akpabio said.

Senator Oluremi Tinubu opposing the suggestion said:

I think principal officers have had enough. Principal Officers drive fleet of cars and they have other entitlements. They should not earn extra money when they leave office. In the last assembly, we in the minority tried to raise our voice against it.

You are first, second and third among equals. Some of us do not even have cars, but principal officers have so many. I think we should drop that idea.

In another development, lawmakers voted against the continuous operation of joint account between Local and State Governments.

While deliberating on the matter, 24 lawmakers voted in favour of financial autonomy for local governments, while six lawmakers supported the continuation of the status quo.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the outcome of the retreat will be presented to the Senate for deliberation before further steps can be taken.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in May 1976 to gather and distribute news on Nigeria and cover events of interest to Nigeria at the international level for the benefit of the Nigerian Media and the Public.

3 Comments

  1. Tati

    June 18, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    all they ever do is look for ways to enrich their selves…shame

  2. Anon

    June 19, 2016 at 5:48 am

    WTF! Excuse my French! These people are so greedy and selfish! Making rules based on figments of their own imaginations and not of the common peasants on the street! This senate should be scrapped just like Senegal scrapped theirs! There is no power, no good roads just paths, no good healthcare system, no decent job, cost of living is high yet they are here thinking of ways to enrich themselves for life! This is not right! I am so upset right now. People losing their jobs, graduates can’t get a decent job, parents can’t feed, can’t pay school fees!

  3. Engoz

    June 19, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    The effrontery…Didn’t this people say Nigeria is broke? These irritants in the form of senators actually do feel they are doing Nigerians a favor and not a service. Minimum wage is not even up to a $100/month and we have these evil personalities trying to secure their future on the backs of millions of unemployed and unemployable youth, struggling families, power outages, fuel scarcities, oil spills, terrorism, etc. Bunch of jokers. Oluremi and Akpabio, good job.

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