Ben Dunno, Warri with agency report
Socio–Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has written Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, urging him to prevail on the House of Assembly to withdraw the proposed self-serving life pension bill.
The House had, last week, passed a bill that would grant life pension to speakers, deputy speakers and other members. Under the bill, speakers will go home with N500,000 monthly, while deputy speakers will receive N200,000. 24 other members will each get N100,000. The House is seeking life pension for members similar to those “applicable to former presidents, vice presidents, governors and deputy governors across the country.”
But reacting, SERAP said: “Public officials have a legal commitment to discharge a public duty truthfully and faithfully. Should you assent to the bill as proposed, SERAP will institute legal proceedings to challenge the legality of the legislation and ensure full compliance with constitutional provisions and Nigeria’s international anti-corruption obligations.”
In the letter 26 April 26 and signed by SERAP Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “The bill amounts to an incorrect and improper performance of public functions. It is clearly an abuse of legislative functions by the lawmakers. Rather than sponsoring bills that would improve access of children in Bayelsa to quality education, the lawmakers are taking advantage of their entrusted public positions to propose a bill to collect large severance benefits.”
In the same vein, indigenes of the Niger Delta region have been urged to resist plan by Bayelsa State House of Assembly to further impoverished the people through the proposed life pension bill for lawmakers.
Making the call in a statement made in Warri at the weekend, a rights activist, Isreal Joe, described the proposed bill as not only self-serving but anti-masses in all its ramifications.
While noting that it was absurd for any reasonable group of people who truly have the interest of the region at heart to come up with such a proposal at a time like this when majority of indigenes were living in abject poverty, the activist said it must not be allowed.