NEWS FROM AFFILIATES : Akwa Ibom State Legislators should not legalise waste of public resources

Keywords : Protest letters Nigeria

The recent passage within eleven days, of the bill entitled Former Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Bill 2014 by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly which makes it possible for the Governor to draw a pension allowance of N140, 000, 000 annually is as shocking as it is absurd.

Press Statement

Akwa Ibom State Legislators should not legalise waste of public resources

The recent passage within eleven days, of the bill entitled Former Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Bill 2014 by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly which makes it possible for the Governor to draw a pension allowance of N140, 000, 000 annually is as shocking as it is absurd.

We at the Nigeria Labour Congress believe it is a perfect example of how not to make a law and a clear demonstration of what the electorate have always feared, that most State Houses of Assembly are in the pockets of the governors , thus defeating the principle of checks and balances in the polity.

In a state where pension benefits of retired civil servants have not been fully paid in accordance with the provisions of the National Minimum Wage, and pensions of some categories of the state employees, especially teachers, health workers and local government employees have not been harmonized, it is totally unacceptable and absolutely abhorrent to fix the pension benefit of the governor (in spite of countless advantages and perquisite of office) in this manner.

It is a demonstration of unbridled power and callous disdain for the ordinary citizen who deserves a better life from those he elected into office.

The fact that the state has evidently witnessed infrastructural improvement under the watch of Mr Godswill Akpabio is no justification for this level of greed, waste and self-aggrandizement.

It certainly, is no reason for the legalization of a process that makes him and his former colleagues totally dependent on public resources for life.

Certainly there is no end to infrastructural or service upgrade as a process for improving the quality of life for the people, which ultimately impacts on the national economy. He has done his bit by building on the effort of his predecessor, Obong Victor Attah. Those coming after him will also do theirs. There is no end to this cycle.

It is therefore economically illogical and politically suicidal to so commit the state’s meager resources to oiling the personal estates of people upon whom so much has been vested already.

In spite of its resources, Akwa Ibom State is one of the most un industrialised states in the country. It is our view that the this pension benefit could be applied to setting up cottage industries for the people, thus help reduce poverty levels.

Accordingly, rather than seek to waste the resources of the state on frivolities, Governor Akpabio is advised to demonstrate his commitment to people-driven projects or services.

Finally, it is common knowledge that salaries and allowances of all state governors in Nigeria are fixed by the National Wages, Incomes and Salaries Commission and can only be modified by the National Assembly.

Akpabio should therefore submit himself to this Law.

The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has clearly set a bad precedent that will surely become a burden on the economy. This must not be allowed to stand.

In the light of the foregoing, we urge the National Assembly to use its extant powers to overrule the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly if it fails to overrule itself.

Abdulwahed Omar

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