Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), has called on the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to return the entire pension he received since 2007 from Kwara State government to the state.
Falana also urged Saraki to relinquish the house the state government bought for him in Abuja. The Daily Times recalls that Saraki had last week stated that he had written to the Kwara state government, asking it to stop his pension.
The Senate president’s action was sequel to the allegation by the Socio-Economic and Accountability Project (SERAP) that Saraki and some former governors holding political office in the present dispensation were receiving double salaries.
But Falana had in a statement issued on Sunday, commended Saraki for doing the right thing. The senior advocate also urged Saraki to prevail on 20 other senators, who are former governors, to stop receiving pension from their states.
The statement reads in part, “The senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki announced last week that he had stopped collecting pension as a former governor of Kwara state following the protest by the Socio-Economic and Accountability Project (SERAP).
“According to the senate leader, the moment his attention was drawn to the allegation of the payment of double salaries he wrote to the Kwara state government to stop the payment of his pension.
“In like manner, three serving ministers in the Buhari administration who are former governors have disclosed that they are not being paid pension from any the state government. “Other ministers and legislators who are former governors and deputy governors should speak out so that Nigerians can know the public officers who are involved in the illegal collection of pension from state governments and salaries from the federal government at the same time.
“Apart from writing to the Kwara state government to stop further payment of the pension due to him under the former governors pension law of Kwara state, Dr Saraki decided to contribute to the debate on double payment of salaries by some ex-governors.”
In condemning such payment, Dr. Saraki he stated that ‘morally, if you have got another job, you should give it up until when you are truly a pensioner. Some of these oversights are not addressing the issues. What the states should do is to go and amend their laws to say that if you have another appointment then you are not entitled to that benefit. With this, we will just simplify the matter’. With respect, the proposed amendment of the obnoxious laws will not ‘simplify the matter.’
“Since Dr Saraki has come to the conclusion that the collection of the pension is immoral, he is advised to refund the pension he had collected from the Kwara state government since he became a senator in June 2007. “He should also relinquish the house bought for him in Abuja by the Kwara state government since he is said to receive housing allowance as president of the senate.
“However, while Dr Saraki is commended for demonstrating leadership by example with respect to the illegal collection of the ex-governors’ pension he should proceed to use his position as the president of the senate to prevail on the 20 other senators who are former governors and deputy-governors to stop further collecting pension from their state governments since they are currently receiving jumbo salaries and allowances from the national assembly.”