I have never collected pension from Rivers govt – Rotimi Amaechi

Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, has refuted claims he is collecting pension from the River State government as ex-governor while serving as minister.

Recall that on Wednesday, December 4, a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the Federal Government to “recover pensions collected by former governors now serving as ministers and members of the National Assembly, and directed the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN to challenge the legality of states’ pension laws permitting former governors and other ex-public officials to collect such pensions.”

The suit which was filed under number FHC/L/CS/1497/2017 by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) is in the face of the invalidation of pension law for former governors and other ex-public officers in Zamfara State.

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In the judgment, Justice Oguntoyinbo said: “The Attorney General has argued that the States’ laws duly passed cannot be challenged. With respect, I do not agree with this line of argument by the Attorney General that he cannot challenge the States’ pension laws for former governors.”

Justice Oguntoyinbo also said: “The question that comes to mind is: who should approach the Court where a particular law is not in the best interest of Nigeria as a country or National interest? Who should approach the Court where a particular law is detrimental to the interest of the country? Who should institute actions in court for the purpose of recovering public funds collected?

In answering the questions, Justice Oguntoyinbo said: “In my humble view, the Attorney General should be interested in the legality or validity of any law in Nigeria and how such laws affect or will affect Nigerians, being the Chief Law Officer of the Federation.”

Reacting to the suit on Twitter, the minister of transportation who served as the fifth Governor of River State from 2007 to 2015 said he had never requested nor collected a dime from the state government. He added that should he be given the entitlement, he would honorably decline it and referred the entitlements to pensioners in the state who need it.

“I have never requested for or collected one pension from R/state Govt. If offered, I will politely decline and requested that the money should be given to River State Pensioners. I do not believe that I should receive pension as ex-gov of R/State while serving as a minister” he tweeted.

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