CIVIL society groups, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and indigenes of Edo State have condemned Tuesday’s amendment to the 2007 Pension Rights of the governors and deputy governors law,” which provides a former governor of the state with house worth N200m and deputy N100 million among other benefits.
The civil society under the aegis of Edo Civil Society Organisations, accused the Edo State House Assembly of promoting a “personal interest” with the amendment, pointing out that it was ill-timed.
The group, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Osazee Edigin, said, “The recent action of EDHA is a huge disappointment to Edo people, owing to recession in the country.
“The way and swiftness in stepping down the house rules for that purpose has shown that what matters to them is their personal interest.”
“It is painful seeing legislators taking their personal gains more than the will of the people that elected them.”
The Edo PDP also condemned the welfare package offered former governors and deputy governors of the state, describing it as anti-people and unacceptable.
Chairman of the Edo PDP, Dan Orbih, called on Governor Godwin Obaseki to reject the amendment as a demonstration of his desire to run a people-oriented government.
Orbih, who spoke during an interview on Thursday, noted that the amendment could not be justified, especially at a time when the current recession was taking its toll on the citizens of the state.
He said “The ridiculous aspect of it is that he is entitled to free medical services, himself and members of his family, anywhere in the world.
“This amendment is coming at a time they cannot pay pensioners their entitlements. You are talking about paying him his full salary for the rest of his life.
“I want to state clearly that this amended bill by the state House of Assembly is a challenge to the man who has taken over the office of Adams Oshiomhole.
“It s a rare opportunity for him to demonstrate that he is on the side of the people and the masses of our state.”
Many residents of Edo State, who called in during a radio programme, also criticised the amendment, pointing out that such amendment ought not to be primary in the minds of the lawmakers at this point in time.
Among other benefits to accrue to the former governor are pension for life at a rate equivalent to 100 per cent of his last annual salary, three vehicles to be bought by the state government and replaced every five years as well as free medical treatment for the governor and his immediate family.