Group tackles governors over payments to ex-governors, others

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has given the governors of the 36 states of the country seven days to disclose payments of pensions to former governors and other public officers in their states.

The group in a letter dated December 9, 2019 and signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP vowed it would use all appropriate legal actions under the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act to compel any governor who failed to yield to its request after the expiration of the seven days ultimatum, to comply.

SERAP said it sent the request to the chairman and deputy chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, (NGF), Dr. Kayode Fayemi and Aminu Tambuwal and other 34 governors.

The group said it urged the governors to use their “leadership position to urgently disclose details of payment of pensions to former governors and other ex-officials between 1999 and 2019 under your state’s pension law, and to provide a copy of the said pension law.”

The organization also urged each of the 36 state governors to “provide information on whether any such pension law exists in their state, and if so, to provide the names and number of ex-governors and other ex-officials receiving pensions in the state, and to publicly commit to repealing the law, and to pursue recovery of funds collected under the pension law.”

It added: “Public officials should not encourage, sustain, or implement jumbo pension laws that show an appearance of conflict of interest, impropriety or create situation of personal enrichment. The pension law negates the duty to act honestly and to represent the needs and concerns of the people, and to refrain from activities, which interfere with the proper discharge of public functions.

“Any such pension law also represents the use of public office to advance private interests at the expense of some public interest, suggests the misuse of legitimate discretion for improper reasons, and has created a more cynical public view of politics and politicians.”

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