Monday, July 13, 2020

Fayemi, Fasola, Ngige denies receiving pension from state govts as ex-govs

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Three cabinet members of the President Muhammadu Buhari, who were former state governors have said they are not earning pensions from their state pulses.

They are ministers of Works, Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (former Lagos governor), of Mine and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (former Ekiti governor) and of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige (former Anambra governor).

Speaking on behalf of Mr. Fashola, his Special Adviser on Communication, Hakeem Bello, said the minister recently clarified that he had no reason to ask the Lagos State Government to stop paying him a pension when from the outset he never accepted it.

When asked if the power minister would also ask the Lagos State Government to stop paying him pension, just like the Senate President, Bukola Saraki did, Bello replied, “The minister spoke on Hard Copy, a programme on Channels TV on Friday. In that programme, he said you don’t ask them (Lagos State Government) to stop what you never accepted in the first place.

“This your question was one of the questions they asked him during that TV programme and what I told you was his response.”

Ngige also denied receiving double emoluments from the federal and state governments.

Ngige had made a similar denial last year following a public outcry against public office holders receiving double emolument as former governors and as serving senators.

Ngige said that the petition by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project to the Office of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in which he was mentioned only showed that proper investigation was not carried out before his inclusion as a beneficiary of double pay from the government or it was inspired by mischief.

Ngige denied drawing double emoluments from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federal Government or the Anambra State Government since he was elected and appointed at various times into public offices contrary to media reports.

Ngige said that apart from two utility vehicles that were given to him some years ago, he had not accessed the privileges approved for him by the constitution as a former governor of Anambra State.

Ngige, who made the comment in a statement on Tuesday, said that he had not received the severance benefits approved for former governors and their deputies by the state assembly.

He said, “I wish to put it on record that since I left office in 2006 as governor of Anambra State; throughout the four years I spent in the 7th Senate (June 2011-2015) and currently as the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment with effect from November 11, 2015, I have never drawn a dime even in the intervening period that I was not in public office, as salary, emolument and pension from the Anambra State Government’s coffers.

“In fact, I have not received any severance benefit as prescribed in the Anambra State House of Assembly law on pensions and other welfare and benefits for former governors and deputy governors, 2006, and amended 2013. Aside the two utility vehicles given to me some years ago, I have not accessed any of the privileges and other lawful trappings due to the office.

“It is worth stating for the avoidance of any doubt that the Supreme Court affirmed that I was entitled to these benefits in their landmark judgment in Mike Balonwu and others Vs Anambra State Government, which declared me governor, de facto and de jure between 2003 and 2006.”

The minister said that he was aware of the position of the law, the moral implications of receiving double emolument which was also against virtues of honesty and transparency being pursued by the government.

Also, Fayemi said he had not even received his severance package from the Ekiti State Government as approved by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission since leaving office in 2014.

In a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Yinka Oyebode, Fayemi, who is now Minister of Mines and Steel Development, said he had not received any kobo as pension.

Fayemi had challenged SERAP to apologise to him for including his name among former governors receiving double remuneration or face legal action.

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