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Gov. Bello Repeals Law On Pension, Allowances For Former Governors, Deputies, Ex Speakers, Deputies In Zamfara

Zamfara State Governor, Alhaji Bello Mohammad

REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF ZAMFARA STATE, HON (DR) BELLO MOHAMMED (MATAWALLEN MARADUN), MADE ON THE OCCASION OF ASSENTING TO THE LAW REPEALING THE LAW ON PENSION AND OTHER ALLOWANCES FOR FORMER GOVERNORS, FORMER DEPUTY GOVERNORS, FORMER SPEAKERS AND FORMER DEPUTY SPEAKERS OF ZAMFARA STATE, ON 26TH NOVEMBER 2019, AT GOVERNMENT HOUSE, GUSAU

It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this event of signing of the law which repeals the law on pension and other allowances for former Governors, former Deputy Governors, former Speakers and former Deputy Speakers of Zamfara State 2019.

  1. You may recall the recent letters received from the immediate past Governor of the State, which have gone viral on the social media, requesting for payment of a whopping amount of N10,000,000 monthly as upkeep allowance in addition to a monthly pension equivalent to his monthly salary while in office.
  2. When I received the letter, it dawned on me that the law that provided for such unprecedented benefits did not take into account the social and economic realities of our State, most specifically the daunting task of maintenance of peace and building a more prosperous state that all citizens would be proud of.
  3. Since my assumption of office as the Governor of Zamfara State, the central focus of my administration is to combat the formidable security challenge inherited from the immediate past administration. When I took over the mantle of leadership as the Governor, the State was literally under siege by armed bandits and other miscreants. Gladly, today, the unprecedented security challenge has been largely contained through the policy of dialogue and reconciliation opted by my administration.
  4. As it is evident that the security challenge is partly accounted for by poor governance and lack of gainful opportunities for our teeming populace, we have also directed our energy towards rebuilding the state’s economy through efforts to lure Foreign Direct Investments into the critical sectors of our economy and teaching of valuable skills that will help our youths to be self-reliant.
  5. Even though payment of pensions and other entitlements to disengaged public servants is one of the missions of my administration, I cannot comprehend why a large portion of our meagre resources should be dedicated for payment to a select few while most of the retirees from the State and Local Government Service have not received a dime as gratuity for almost seven out of the eight years of the immediate past administration.
  6. It is on record that the backlog of pension and gratuity for Local Governments and primary school teachers left behind by the immediate past administration stands at N3,399,906,492.33, while that of State Government retirees stands at N3,691,256,543.09. Apart from a backlog of pension liabilities left behind by the administration, we have also inherited liabilities in respect of unpaid promotion benefits as well as annual salary increments for the State and Local Government Civil Servants. Moreover, what moral justification could be offered for such a jumbo package for a few when the social index has consistently indicated that the majority of our population lives in absolute poverty?
  7. It may interest you to know that the repealed law, among other things, provided that a former Governor is entitled to:
    i. A monthly pension equivalent to the salary he was receiving while in office;
    ii. The sum of N10,000,000 (ten million naira) monthly as an upkeep allowance;
    iii. Two vehicles to be bought by the State Government and liable to be replaced every four years;
    iv. Free medical treatment for former Governor and his immediate families and vacation within Nigeria and outside;
    v. Thirty days vacation within Nigeria or outside Nigeria;
    vi. A 5-bedroom house in any location of the choice of the former Governor within the country.
  8. The law also extended similar largess to the former Deputy Governors, former Speakers of the State Assembly, and former Deputy Speakers. It is estimated that it will cost the State the sum of N702,000,000 every year to settle the upkeep allowances for the beneficiaries of the repealed law alone.
  9. Taking into account the state of our economy and the formidable task of rebuilding Zamfara State ahead of us, and subject to the provision of Section 5(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I filed for the repealing of the law before the State House of Assembly. Gladly, the law repealing the bogus allowances law is here before me for assent this afternoon.
  10. I would like to use this medium to appeal to all the concerned individuals for their understanding. As leaders, we should bear in our minds that we have a great task of building Zamfara State and leaving behind a lasting legacy for both the present and future generations. My administration is committed to settling all the benefits of political office holders as provided by Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission.
  11. My administration will continue to focus more considerable attention to matters of development of the State and the wellbeing of its people. You are all aware of our efforts in this direction so far. Notably, we are making a significant investment in our youth development, considering the fact that the future of the state depends on them. We have concluded plans to kick start a statewide skills acquisition programme through which our youths would learn valuable skills for livelihood.
  12. Our State has enormous potentials in agriculture and solid minerals, and we have a serious challenge in properly harnessing and transforming these sectors in tune with our developmental needs. That is why we are paying attention to partnering with foreign investors to fully leverage these potentials and make a Zamfara a pride of place.
  13. I would like to use this opportunity to thank our people for your incredible support, prayers and goodwill. I assure you that my administration will remain responsive to your needs.
  14. Thank you all, and God bless.

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Buhari Signs New Law That Bars VPs, Deputy Governors From Second Term

By Anule Emmanuel

New law bars successor VPs, deputy govs from second term
  • State assemblies, judiciary get financial autonomy

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has signed into law a bill that will amend the 1999 Constitution which bars vice presidents and deputy governors who succeed their principals from seeking a second term in office. He also signed into law Bill No. 16, which means vice presidents and deputy governors who succeed their principals are not entitled to eight-year tenure.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang, disclosed this while briefing State House Correspondents at the presidential villa, Abuja. He said: “The intent of the Bill No. 16is to ensure that where a vice-president succeeds a president or a deputy governor succeeds a governor he can no more contest for that office more than once more.

“The fact is that having taken the oath as president once and you can only contest for the office once again and no more. That is the intent of this amendment.” The new law also gives financial autonomy to state houses of assembly and judiciaries in the 36 states of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Enang said with the signing into law of the Constitution Alteration Bill, the State Houses of Assembly would now operate like the National Assembly where the Federal Ministry of Finance automatically transferred budgetary allocation direct to the account of the legislature. According to him, the Judiciary in the states under the new arrangement will also enjoy similar financial independence as their budgetary allocations will no longer go through the budgeting process of the executive arms at the state level. Such funds, he said, would henceforth be transferred directly to the account of the judiciary.

Enang said: “I just want to inform you that His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari today assented to the Constitution Fourth Alteration Bill which grants financial autonomy and independence to the Houses of Assembly of the respective states and to the Judiciary of the respective states.

“Therefore upon this signature, the amounts standing to the credit of the judiciary are to be now paid directly to the judiciary of those states, no more through the governors and no more from the governors. “And then the amounts standing to the credit of the Houses of Assembly of the respective states are now to be paid directly to the Houses of Assembly of that state for the benefit of the legislators and the management of the States Houses of Assembly.

“This grants full autonomy now to the judiciary at the state level and the Houses of Assembly at the state level. This allows the State Houses of Assembly to operate like the National Assembly does because the National Assembly does not get its money from the executive. “It provides money in the statutory transfers which the Ministry of Finance will automatically transfer to the account of the National Assembly.” He said: “Just like that of the (Federal) Judiciary, you see the judiciary sometimes get N150 – N170billion sometimes a little bit about a 100billion. It does not go through the executive and it does go through the budgeting process of the executive. “It is transferred directly to the account of the judiciary, which is the head of courts.

When the Houses of Assembly are doing their budgets the amounts standing to the credit of the judiciary it will now going to be among the statutory transfers which will be statutorily transferred to the heads of the courts. “And then that of the State Houses of Assembly will stand transferred to the House of Assembly of the state.” President Buhari also yesterday signed into law the Constitution Amendment No. 21 which relates to a determination of pre-election matters. He said the new bill had reduced the days and time of determining pre-election matter to ensure that preelection matters in courts do not get into the time of election do not pend thereafter.

“The relevant section of the constitution has also been amended by this Act, therefore, amending the constitution,” he added. Enang said the president also signed the Bill No. 9 into law. According to him, the Bill No.9 gives the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) sufficient time to conduct by-elections. He said with the president’s assent to the bill, the days for the conduct of by-elections had been increased from seven to 21 days. “These four Bills added to the ‘Not Too Young To Run’ Act, have now been assented to by Mr President and they have now become laws. And then the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended are hereby further amended by the assents of Mr President to these bills today,” (yesterday) he said.  (New Telegraph)

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